Gov. Ron DeSantis filed paperwork last week to formally launch his 2022 re-election campaign.
But before that, DeSantis had already built up a political war chest of more than $62 million to help fuel his bid for a second term in the governor’s office — and to potentially set the stage for a White House run in 2024.
The political committee Friends of Ron DeSantis raised nearly $4.66 million in October and had about $62.6 million in cash on hand as of Oct. 31, according to a newly filed finance report. DeSantis’ October haul further widened a financial chasm with top Democrats seeking to unseat him.
The DeSantis committee raked in nearly $56.1 million during the first 10 months of the year and topped $3.2 million in contributions in every month except January, the report shows. During October, it received 10 contributions of at least $100,000, including a $1 million contribution from the Republican Governors Association.
While DeSantis had long made clear he would seek a second term, he formally opened a campaign account last Friday for the race. That account will provide another vehicle for him to raise money ahead of the 2022 elections.
State candidates and political committees faced a Wednesday deadline for filing reports showing finance activity in October.
DeSantis’ financial advantage next year likely will be aided by Democratic candidates Charlie Crist, Nikki Fried and Annette Taddeo squaring off — and spending money — in a primary.
Crist, a congressman from St. Petersburg, raised about $625,000 during the month for his campaign account and the political committee Friends of Charlie Crist. Combined, the account and the committee had about $3.18 million in cash on hand as of Oct. 31.
Crist’s campaign released a statement Wednesday touting what it described as a “strong fundraising haul” and taking aim at DeSantis, who is widely considered a potential 2024 Republican presidential candidate.
“Our current governor spends his time promoting his own political interests, not the interests of Floridians,” Crist, a former Republican governor who became a Democrat, said in the statement. “Florida needs a governor with a heart, who is focused on creating good jobs, a cleaner environment, better schools and a better tomorrow. I’m running to bring an end to this regime and put the people back in charge.”
A report had not been posted Thursday morning on the state Division of Elections website for the campaign account of Fried, the state agriculture commissioner. But her political committee, Florida Consumers First, raised nearly $273,000 in October and had about $2.51 million on hand. Contributions in October included $100,000 from Miami-Dade County health-care businessman Mike Fernandez.
Taddeo, a state senator from Miami, entered the gubernatorial race last month and raised about $349,000 for her campaign account and the political committee Fight Back Florida. Combined, they had about $627,000 on hand as of Oct. 31.
Taddeo’s campaign this week touted her fundraising.
“Annette has been counted out and underestimated her entire political career, but one thing is clear from this early fundraising success — our movement is growing and this campaign will have the resources it needs to compete statewide.” Jackie Lee, a senior adviser to Taddeo’s campaign, said in a prepared statement.