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Major Trump donors are now giving big money to Ron DeSantis – while Trump claims he would defeat the Florida government
Republican donors who have opened their wallets to Donald Trump are now backing Ron DeSantis as he prays to win a second term as Florida governor, it turns out.
New campaign requests obtained by: Politics show that DeSantis, 43, received $3.4 million from 10 donors who collectively spent $24 million on Trump’s reelection bid.
Many of those who donated had never before contributed to the Florida election, including Home Depot founder Bernie Marcus, 93, who gave DeSantis $500,000. In 2016, he was one of Donald Trump’s most generous donors, contributing $7 million.
The analysis comes as Trump, 76, gets more and more questions about whether he could beat DeSantis in 2024, if the ambitious governor decides to challenge him.
Donald Trump and Ron DeSantis to be seen in November 2019. Many Republican mega donors now support DeSantis in his November reelection bid
Home Depot Co-Founder Bernie Marcus Gave DeSantis Campaign $500,000
Uihlein and his wife Elizabeth have collectively contributed more than $30 million in two decades
Who Supports DeSantis?
William Buckleya retired venture capitalist with a home in Lost Tree Village, Florida, has donated $1 million.
Richard Uihlein, an Illinois-based businessman who has given more than any other Republican to the 2022 campaigns to date, and is known as one of Trump’s largest backers. He gave $1.2 million to DeSantis.
Founder of Home Depot Bernie Marcus, 93, who gave DeSantis $500,000. In 2016, he was one of Donald Trump’s most generous donors, contributing $7 million.
Steven Witkoffreal estate investor, gave $100,000 – his first time contributing to a Florida campaign.
Willis Johnsona Tennessee billionaire who founded an auto auction and salvage company gave $100,000.
Casino magnate in Las Vegas and friend of Trump Phil Ruffinwho has known Trump for 20 years, gave DeSantis $100,000.
Texas oil baron Kelcy Warrenwho spent $10 million in 2020 to support Trump has also given DeSantis $50,000.
Larry Garatonican Indiana businessman, gave DeSantis $35,000.
Geoffrey Palmer, a Los Angeles developer, spent $6 million to help Trump’s campaign in 2020, and gave DeSantis $20,000.
Ken Griffinbillionaire hedge fund manager, has given DeSantis $5 million by 2022 – making him one of his biggest backers.
Jeff Yass, a Pennsylvania billionaire, has also given DeSantis $100,000.
Trump told the New Yorker, in an article titled, “Can Ron DeSantis Override Donald Trump as Commander in Chief of the GOP?” that he was responsible for DeSantis’ political career.
“If I hadn’t supported him, he wouldn’t have won,” Trump said.
The article stated that DeSantis was sometimes described as “Trump with a brain.”
On Monday night, again asked if he would beat DeSantis in 2024, Trump told Newsmax, “I was very responsible for getting him elected.”
However, the big money follows DeSantis.
His backers include Richard Uihlein, a Midwestern shipping magnate who, along with his wife Elizabeth, contributed more than $30 million in two decades together.
He has given more than any other Republican to the 2022 campaigns to date and is known as one of Trump’s biggest backers.
Uihlein was also one of the biggest backers of the pro-Trump ‘March to Save America’ rally on January 6, which was held in the Capitol before the riots.
Uihlein has given DeSantis $1.2 million, Politico reported.
Another major donor is William Buckley, a retired venture capitalist who owns a home in the Lost Tree Village enclave in Palm Beach. Buckley has given $1 million to the governor’s campaign.
Those who first dipped their toes into Florida campaigns include Steven Witkoff, a real estate investor, and Willis Johnson, a Tennessee billionaire who founded an auto auction and salvage company. Both gave DeSantis $100,000.
One of Trump’s closest friends, casino mogul Phil Ruffin, 82, is now also donating to DeSantis’ campaign.
Ruffin gave Trump $2.5 million for his 2016 election; this year he gave DeSantis $100,000.
Other Trump donors now backing his younger potential rival include Texas oil lord Kelcy Warren, who spent $10 million in 2020 to support Trump, and has also given DeSantis $50,000.
Larry Garatoni, an Indiana businessman, gave Trump $500,000 and has given DeSantis $35,000.
Geoffrey Palmer, a Los Angeles-based developer, has given DeSantis $20,000 this cycle, after spending $6 million in 2020 to aid Trump’s reelection.
DeSantis, pictured on June 16 in Miami, insists he is focused on the 2022 race and not thinking about 2024
Trump is seen with casino owner Phil Ruffin in Las Vegas in July 2005. Ruffin now donating to DeSantis campaign
DeSantis has amassed a $100 million war chest, set new records, and positioned him well to send those funds into 2024.
One of his biggest backers is Ken Griffin, the billionaire founder of the Chicago-based Citadel, who backed Trump in 2016 but not in 2020.
The 53-year-old spent $40 million on the 2022 election and is the top donor to Republican charities, according to the Wall Street Journal.
Griffin has given DeSantis $5 million for 2022 and has said he will not support Trump if he runs again.
Tennessee Billionaire Willis Johnson Gave DeSantis $100,000
Whether DeSantis would take on Trump remains unclear.
Earlier this month, a straw poll at the Western Conservative Summit in Aurora, Colorado — a gathering of 2,000 people in person and thousands more over the Internet — endorsed DeSantis over Trump.
Of the respondents, 71 percent said they approved of DeSantis, compared to 67.7 percent who approved of Trump.
Neither Trump nor DeSantis have officially announced themselves for 2024.
“The interesting thing about me is that people will always put my name in it, just based on what I do in Florida,” DeSantis told Fox News on June 13.
“It’s a little different for me. I think clearly there are people who, as 2020 ended, were basically running, and they’re doing all that sort of thing.
“That’s just not what I did. I just focused on the task.”
DeSantis is not challenged internally.
His main Democrat rivals are former Governor Charlie Crist and Agriculture Commissioner Nikki Fried, with the primary on Aug. 23.