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Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis plans Utah fundraiser with GOP megadonors, signaling doable presidential run

Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis speaks in the course of the welcome phase of the Conservative Political Motion Convention (CPAC) in Orlando, Florida, February 26, 2021.

Joe Skipper | Reuters

Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis is planning a non-public fundraiser in Utah later this month that’s anticipated to attract a few of the nation’s wealthiest Republican donors as he alerts a doable run for president in 2024.

DeSantis is ready to move to Utah the week of July 18 for the non-public gathering, in accordance with individuals acquainted with the matter. Many requested to not be recognized as a result of the marketing campaign is attempting to maintain the non-public occasion from getting an excessive amount of public consideration.

Although DeSantis is coming to Utah to boost cash for his 2022 gubernatorial reelection marketing campaign, fundraisers held in far-flung states like Utah, which is greater than 2,000 miles from his dwelling state, typically counsel nationwide aspirations.

The state is understood to be a GOP stronghold; Utah voters have picked a Republican for president in every of the previous six elections. Former President Donald Trump beat Joe Biden within the state by 20 share factors in 2020.

Carson Jorgensen, chairman of the Utah Republican Get together, mentioned the state celebration is not co-hosting the occasion, however it’ll probably ship somebody to what’s anticipated to incorporate breakfast and lunch with DeSantis. He famous the occasion is privately hosted and closed to the press.

“We simply need to see extra occasions executed within the state supporting nice candidates throughout the nation,” Jorgensen mentioned in a textual content message. He didn’t verify a date of the gathering or who’s going to be internet hosting DeSantis.

DeSantis spokeswoman Lindsey Curnutte would not verify any particulars, saying the marketing campaign would not “focus on non-public fundraising occasions with members of the press.”

DeSantis hasn’t declared his candidacy for president, however he additionally hasn’t dominated it out. In a current interview on Fox Information, he did not nix the thought of working for president — even when it meant he needed to first beat Trump within the Republican main.

“Good strive, man” DeSantis coyly replied in an interview with Fox Information final month, declining to reply when requested whether or not he would get right into a main battle with Trump in a run for the White Home.

An individual serving to manage the fundraiser this month mentioned many donors from throughout the nation have been invited and can attend the gathering in Utah, however they’re attempting to maintain Trump from taking discover. Invitations have been despatched verbally, as an alternative of by electronic mail, to restrict any paper path, this particular person mentioned. Donors have been instructed that the conferences with DeSantis in Utah is more likely to begin early within the day on July 19.

The opposite motive DeSantis is preserving the occasion below the radar, this particular person added, is to keep away from trying like he’s getting ready to tackle Trump within the 2024 Republican main and frightening the previous president’s ire.

An Emerson School ballot carried out final month exhibits Trump as a transparent favourite over some other doable contenders for the 2024 Republican nomination. The ballot confirmed him with 55% of help from voters if he had been to run for the Republican nomination, with DeSantis a distant second with 20%.

DeSantis has develop into a fan favourite of most GOP megadonors, with a lot of them serving to him elevate greater than $100 million for his 2022 run for reelection in Florida and searching for options to be their Republican nominee for president in 2024. Axios reported that an outdoor group is gathering over 1 million names of DeSantis supporters in case the Florida governor finally ends up working for president.

In a current interview on Newsmax, Trump mentioned he will get together with DeSantis and didn’t rule out having the Florida governor be his working mate if the previous president ran once more for the White Home in 2024. Trump hasn’t dominated out working for president once more after shedding to Biden two years in the past.

Whereas Trump gained Utah in 2020, DeSantis has allies in that state and beforehand traveled there as governor.

DeSantis spoke in Utah final 12 months in entrance of the American Legislative Trade Council. His remarks included mocking the Heart for Illness Management and Prevention encouraging these vaccinated from Covid-19 to put on a masks in states the place the coronavirus was spreading.

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DeSantis’ reelection marketing campaign has raised greater than $25,000 from Utah donors within the 2022 election cycle, in accordance with Florida state information. Pals of Ron DeSantis, the political motion committee backing DeSantis, has introduced in over $430,000 from donors throughout the state.

Nomi Well being is one in every of DeSantis’ backers in Utah. The health-care firm donated $100,000 to the Pals of Ron DeSantis PAC final 12 months after it reportedly acquired almost $50 million in no-bid Covid-related work from the governor’s administration, in accordance with marketing campaign finance information.

Since then, one other $50,000 got here from Nomi Well being in June.

Nomi’s Well being CEO, Mark Newman, and the corporate didn’t reply when requested if they might be attending or co-hosting the DeSantis assembly in Utah.

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