Gov. Ron DeSantis continues to hold a dominating lead in fundraising over Democratic challenger Charlie Crist. Even as his campaign shipped millions to the Republican Party of Florida, the Republican incumbent sits ready to deploy $115 million in cash on hand.
Crist, a former Democratic Congressman and Republican Governor, has grown his war chest back to more than $5 million in available cash following a costly Primary.
DeSantis’ official re-election campaign account raised $934,942 in the first full week of September, bringing the total raised this cycle to $23,032,660. He already spent most of that, but still holds $10,015,983 in cash.
That’s almost as much as Crist raised in his official account since filing for Governor last May.
Crist has seen fundraising pick up since winning the Democratic nomination over Agriculture Commissioner Nikki Fried. He reported $844,692 in new donations over September’s first full week, bringing his total contributions for the campaign to $10,875,395. But while DeSantis ran unopposed for the Republican nomination, Crist depleted much of his money defeating Fried, and his official account held just $2,979,122 as of Sept. 9.
The official accounts show just a fraction of the resources that the candidates control. The Friends of Ron DeSantis has also continued to amass a war chest, raising $2,465,342 in the first half of September. That includes $1,305,007 raised between Sept. 9 and 15 alone. In that one week, the committee disbursed a massive $5,421,671, most of that paid directly to the Republican Party of Florida.
The committee as of Sept. 15 holds $105,280,103 in cash, more than 46 times the $2,275,011 in cash on hand available to Friends of Charlie Crist as of the same date.
The Crist-controlled committee raised $888,182 between Sept. 1 and 15, and has been more frugal in that time. But having spent $6,722,849 through the Aug. 23 Democratic Primary, the committee remains in recovery mode.
Crist has seen some substantial support come in from out of state since securing the nomination, including $100,000 from the American Federation of State County & Municipal Employees and another $100,000 from the California Democratic Party during the month of September.
But DeSantis has seen big checks as well. The Conservatives for Principled Leadership committee, Chaired by Florida House Speaker-Designate Paul Renner, gave $90,000 to the Governor’s committee. McCormick Drive LLC, managed by Ronald Wanek of St. Petersburg, gave $250,000. But the Governor also has developed a national network of small donors as he increasingly grows a national profile.
As for where money is going, DeSantis this month poured money into the state party. He gave $2.5 million to the Florida Republican Senatorial Campaign Committee, dedicated to keeping a majority in the Florida Senate. He also gave a total of $9,868,967 to the Republican Party of Florida. That means the vast majority of the $12.5 million in spending by the Governor in the first half of September went toward efforts by the party at large, not simply his own re-election effort.
The largest expense for the Crist committee in the same time was for a poll, $28,300 that went to GBAO. The committee also notably disbursed $9,138 to the Elias Law Group, a Democratic election law firm. Most of the $77,598 in spending in early September for the Crist committee has gone toward travel and salaries.