Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis raised $8.2 million in his first 24 hours as a presidential candidate, his campaign said Thursday, a sum larger than Donald J. cements his standing as Trump’s main Republican rival.
Mr. DeSantis’ campaign began on Wednesday evening with a tumultuous kickoff on Twitter, but that apparently didn’t slow the enthusiasm of donors. The campaign said Wednesday that it had raised $1 million in the course of an hour.
The $8.2 million figure is higher than the $6.3 million that Joseph R. Biden Jr. raised in his first 24 hours as a candidate in 2019, or more than the $6.1 million raised by former Representative Beto O’Rourke in the same year.
The race will immediately bolster his campaign, with growing political maneuvering and money needed to finance an aggressive travel schedule that will take the governor to 12 cities in three states next week.
Mr Trump’s campaign said the amount was roughly double the $4 million it raised in the 24 hours following his criminal indictment earlier this year, although much of that money was raised online.
The DeSantis sum includes both online contributions and donations secured by bundlers who gathered in the grand ballroom at the Four Seasons in Miami on Thursday called the Ron-O-Rama to raise funds for the campaign .
DeSantis spokesman Brian Griffin said the campaign was raising both primary and general election funds. Campaigns can raise up to $3,300 per donor for both the primary and the general election. He declined to say how the money was earmarked for use only in the general election should DeSantis become a candidate.
A donor who called into the room first revealed that the campaign had raised $8.2 million, and Mr. Griffin confirmed the figure. All funds are so-called hard dollars that campaigns can use.
According to Mr. Griffin, this amount does not include any money that the pro-DeSantis super PAC, Never Back Down, has deposited in recent months into a draft DeSantis account that could be transferred directly to the campaign. It is not clear how much money is in that account.
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 Pennsylvania congressman and one-time Trump ally, said he spent seven-and-a-half hours calling contacts for donations to Mr. DeSantis’ campaign, only to use the bathroom. Took a break and had a buffet lunch.
“There was so much excitement in that room,” Mr. Barletta said. “I had very few people call me on those calls.”
Mr. DeSantis himself helped make the call for parts of the day, according to several donors in attendance, and on Thursday evening, he and his wife, Casey, were to meet with donors in what was billed as a “special celebration.” Were.
Super PACs supporting Mr. DeSantis are planning a $200 million budget, but campaign funds are far more difficult to raise because they face strict donation limits.
The $8.2 million Mr. DeSantis brought in is far more than how Mr. Trump began his 2024 fund-raising in late 2022. Mr Trump had raised about $9.5 million in the six weeks since announcing his campaign in mid-November.
Nicolas Nehamas Contributed reporting.