DeSantis Campaign Says It Raised $8.2 Million in First 24 Hours

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Gov. Ron DeSantis of Florida raised $8.2 million in his first 24 hours as a presidential candidate, his campaign said on Thursday, a huge sum that cements his standing as the leading rival to Donald J. Trump.

Mr. DeSantis’s campaign began on Wednesday evening with a glitch-filled kickoff on Twitter, but that apparently did not slow donor enthusiasm. The campaign said on Wednesday that it had raised $1 million during a single hour.

The $8.2 million figure is more than the $6.3 million that Joseph R. Biden Jr. raised in his first 24 hours as a candidate in 2019, or the $6.1 million haul raised by former Representative Beto O’Rourke that same year.

The DeSantis sum includes both online contributions and donations secured by bundlers who had gathered on Thursday at the grand ballroom in the Four Seasons in Miami for what was called a Ron-O-Rama to make fund-raising calls for the campaign.

A donor making calls in the room first disclosed that the campaign had raised $8.2 million, and Bryan Griffin, a spokesman for Mr. DeSantis, confirmed the figure. All the funds are so-called hard dollars that the campaign can use.

The sum does not include any of the funds that the pro-DeSantis super PAC, Never Back Down, has raised in recent months into a Draft DeSantis account that can be directly transferred to the campaign, according to Mr. Griffin. It is unclear how much money is in that account.

Mr. Griffin said the campaign was raising both primary and general election funds. The campaign can raise $3,300 per donor for both the primary and general election. He declined to say how money was earmarked for the general election, should Mr. DeSantis become the nominee.

It was not immediately clear how many donors had contributed in the first 24 hours.

At the Four Seasons in Miami, Lou Barletta, a former congressman from Pennsylvania and one-time Trump ally, said he spent seven-and-a-half hours calling contacts for donations to Mr. DeSantis’s campaign, only breaking to use the bathroom and grab a buffet lunch.

“There was so much enthusiasm in that room,” Mr. Barletta said. “I had very, very few people say no to me on those calls.”

On Thursday evening, Mr. DeSantis and his wife, Casey, were scheduled to meet with donors in what was billed as a “special celebration.”

A super PAC supporting Mr. DeSantis is planning for a $200 million budget, but campaign funds are far harder to raise because they face a strict donation cap.

The $8.2 million brought in by Mr. DeSantis far outpaces how Mr. Trump began his 2024 fund-raising in late 2022. Mr. Trump had raised about $9.5 million in the six weeks after he announced his campaign in mid-November.

Nicholas Nehamas contributed reporting.

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