The top two potential 2024 Republican rivals are set to raise money this week in Palm Beach, Florida, just minutes away from each other and one day apart.
Former President Donald Trump is holding a fundraiser for MAGA Inc., his super PAC, at his Mar-a-Lago estate on Thursday. On Friday, Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis is holding a donor retreat less than five miles away at the Four Seasons Resort Palm Beach, according to The Wall Street Journal.
Though the timing is coincidental, according to the Journal, it underscores the showdown these two Florida men could face in competing for some of the same supporters should DeSantis announce he’s running for president.
Trump, who announced his campaign late last year, was even with DeSantis in a February Monmouth University poll asking Republican voters about who they wanted for their party’s potential 2014 presidential nominees. In a hypothetical head-to-head matchup, DeSantis beat Trump 53% to 40%, according to the poll.
Trump raised $9.5 million in the six weeks between his Nov. 15, 2022, announcement and the end of last year. It was considered a less than stellar start, and Trump lost top donors including Blackstone CEO Stephen Schwarzman and Americans for Prosperity Action, a political group bankrolled by billionaire Charles Koch that said it’s moving on. Ken Griffin, CEO of the investment firm Citadel, donated to Trump’s inaugural committee but he said he’s prepared to support DeSantis in 2024.
DeSantis raised a record $177.4 million for his 2022 gubernatorial reelection campaign.
When asked about a potential presidential run Tuesday on Fox News, DeSantis said, “I’ve got two big things coming up,” listing the Feb. 28 release of his book and the March 7 start of Florida legislative session, where Republicans hold supermajorities.
“I think people look at Florida and they’re like, man, the governor’s gotten a lot done,” he told Fox News. “You ain’t seen nothing yet.”
Ahead of his book release next week, DeSantis is meeting with law enforcement in New York City and suburbs of Philadelphia and Chicago.
The only other Republican candidate in the race is former U.N. ambassador Nikki Haley, who announced her campaign last week. When asked on Fox News this week how she would beat Trump, she said, “I’m not worried about Trump. This is about making sure we do something different and leave the status quo behind. We can’t keep losing.”