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DeSantis cashes in on rising star status with big-money blitz

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08.06.2021

TALLAHASSEE — When Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis addresses a group of well-heeled Republican Party donors on Thursday, he won’t be on home turf like Naples’ “Millionaires’ Row” or in Indian Creek Island’s “Billionaire Bunker” — he’ll be across the country in San Diego, one of the GOP's few traditional power centers in California.

The appearance is part of an aggressive summertime out-of-state fundraising swing, with DeSantis capitalizing on his rising profile to stuff his reelection coffers and cultivate a national donor network that could power a prospective 2024 presidential bid.

The first-term Republican governor is set to hopscotch across Southern California for a half-dozen reelection fundraisers this week, including stops in Los Angeles, Irvine and Manhattan Beach. He will also head to Las Vegas, where former Nevada state Attorney General Adam Laxalt is slated to host a high-dollar event. In the weeks to come, DeSantis is expected to make a fundraising tour through the Northeast as well.

The blitz comes as DeSantis draws widespread interest from Republican Party donors eyeing the next generation of party leaders, who have praised him for his anti-coronavirus lockdown policies and his combativeness toward the media. With the prospect of a Donald Trump comeback bid still uncertain, many contributors scoping out the party’s bench are flooding DeSantis with five-, six-, and even seven-figure checks for his 2022 campaign in Florida.

DeSantis’ cross-country fundraising swing draws parallels to former President George W. Bush, who courted donors outside his home state in the run-up to his 1998 reelection race. Bush received financial support for his gubernatorial campaign and, crucially, developed the national finance network that became a foundation of his presidential bid two years later.

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© Politico


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