MIAMI — The money fight will be fierce between Gov. Ron DeSantis and former President Donald Trump now that both are officially in the 2024 presidential race.
"I think DeSantis is going to keep the fundraising lead," Joe Budd, a Republican committeeman from Palm Beach County, told WPTV.
Budd founded — but has since walked away from — Club 45, a group supporting Trump that got its start when the 45th U.S. president was in the White House. Budd is uncommitted for now as the race takes shape, but he acknowledged DeSantis' ability to turn out donors.
"He did raise a record amount of money during his last reelection for governor campaign," Budd said.
DeSantis, by most accounts, has banked $120 million, but that's just a start.
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"A guy by the name of Hal Lambert, who runs a hedge fund, and he's pretty much quoted as saying DeSantis is going to have unlimited Wall Street fundraising numbers," Budd said.
A separate super PAC backing DeSantis, the New York Times reports, is looking for starters at a massive $100 million voter outreach in key early states — Iowa, New Hampshire and South Carolina among them. The financial numbers are dizzying, but political pros remind us that they guarantee nothing.
"It's great to get out of the gates with a lot of money," Budd said. "You know, it's interesting, that's not always the final solution. We saw that with Jeb Bush, (who) blew through $150 million and he was out by the end of the third primary."
That was the 2016 GOP presidential primary season, and the former governor's story is a cautionary tale for any candidate, including DeSantis in 2024.