Florida Governor Ron DeSantis is set to host an event for top donors and social media influencers this weekend, signaling a potential battle against former President Donald Trump for the 2024 Republican nomination.
Scheduled for May 24-25, with a possible extension, the meeting aims to “pre-brief” DeSantis’ top supporters, according to a source who received an invitation and shared details with Fox News. Attendees were advised to reserve those dates on their calendars by DeSantis officials.
Reuters reported that “DeSantis will likely file paperwork declaring his candidacy on May 25 to coincide with a donor meeting in Miami, with a more formal launch the week of May 29, according to a source.”
While campaign finance laws prevent DeSantis from directly receiving or soliciting contributions for a presidential campaign until he formally declares his candidacy, he can engage with potential donors to provide them with insights into his 2024 plans without seeking donations.
Next week’s meeting with donors represents the latest in a series of recent developments that strongly suggest the impending launch of DeSantis’ 2024 presidential campaign. These include the relocation of DeSantis’ political team from the Republican Party of Florida headquarters to new offices, the announcement of Bryan Griffin’s departure from his role as press secretary in the governor’s office to join the DeSantis political operation (as reported by Fox News on Monday), and the governor’s decision last Tuesday to cut ties with Friends of Ron DeSantis, his longstanding political state committee, in order to adhere to federal campaign finance regulations.
Approximately 150 guests, including wealthy Republican donors and conservative social media influencers, have been invited to the three-day event at the Four Seasons resort in Palm Beach, Florida. DeSantis’ team has actively courted these individuals in recent months as part of his preparations for an anticipated presidential campaign, according to an anonymous source familiar with the matter.
Trump has intensified his criticisms of DeSantis in recent times, taking to social media to question DeSantis’ credit for Florida’s economic health, a crucial aspect of DeSantis’ potential campaign pitch to voters.
During an event in West Palm Beach, Trump referred to DeSantis as his “enemy” and suggested the importance of striking early against opponents. But DeSantis is not above retaliating.
Following Governor Ron DeSantis’ endorsement by 99 lawmakers in the Florida state legislature, his political team subtly differentiated itself from former President Donald Trump on Wednesday.
A senior official from DeSantis’ political operation told Fox News Digital, “Ron DeSantis’s support among Republicans in the Florida legislature is nearly universal due to their collaboration in passing the most comprehensive conservative agenda in the state’s history. This accomplishment has propelled Florida to the top of key metrics across the board.”
By using the phrase “nearly universal,” the official made a clear allusion to Trump’s statement in April, when the former president claimed his support in Florida was “almost universal” after securing endorsements from nearly half of the state’s Republican congressional delegation.
Ninety-nine Florida legislators have thrown their support behind Governor Ron DeSantis, constituting a significant majority among the state’s 113 Republican lawmakers. Notably, former President Donald Trump has received an endorsement from only one legislator.
While DeSantis, who has yet to formally declare a presidential run, commands a strong backing in the state legislature, he currently holds the endorsement of just one Republican member of Congress from Florida: Representative Laurel Lee.
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