DeSantis already defeating opponents with millions raised for likely gubernatorial race

Reporter: Morgan Rynor Writer: Jack Lowenstein
Published: Updated:
Gov. Ron DeSantis at the State Capitol. Credit: WINK News

Gov. Ron DeSantis is collecting money in his campaign for a second term in Florida; although, he has not officially announced he plans to run.

He has collected millions of dollars that currently beats the other potential candidates by a landslide.

Experts predict the 2022 gubernatorial race is going to break all previous spending records.

With the money Gov. DeSantis has pouring in, an expert told us Democrats are going to think twice about the money they contribute.

A year and a half away from the election, an additional $23 million in contributions were made in the last five months to DeSantis’ committee, Friends of Ron DeSantis.

“That’s an astronomical amount of money,” said Peter Bergerson, an FGCU professor of political science.

Bergerson said, not only does money equal power, it’s a sign of the times.

“It also indicates that he’s not gonna have any opposition within his own party,” Bergerson said.

However, money doesn’t always equal a win, particularly in local races.

“Just take Lee County as an example. You had Casey Askar, that ran for Congress, probably had the most amount of money, and he did not win,” said Dennis Pearlman, a political and financial consultant.

Pearlman said on a larger scale, it’s a different story.

“You’re buying the ability to put your message out,” Pearlman said. “So it’s really critical to build that up. When you’re thinking about a statewide race, it’s so many people, so much square footage, that you have to get to.”

Former Gov. Charlie Crist formally announced last week he is going to try and take back his old office. Crist has about $650,000 he can carry over from his congressional race.

Then, there’s Agriculture Commissioner Nikki Fried, the only current Florida Democrat to hold a statewide office. The committee associated with her Florida Consumer’s First has raised about $500,000 in 2021 at this point.

Many speculate the money DeSantis is raising now will not stop at the governor’s office. If he wins, that money could be used in another race.

“I think for anyone to be competitive against [$14 million] at this stage, the minimum would have to be [$10 million] to $12 million to be competitive,” Bergerson said.

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