As the full financial picture of the 2024 presidential race emerged with Saturday’s campaign filing deadline, Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis seemed to be lurking just below the surface.
Despite a strong overall fundraising total of $20 million, Mr. DeSantis spends hand over fist, and his dependence on big donors suggests a lack of grassroots support. Former President Donald J. Trump’s campaign reported $17.7 million in fundraising, almost all of which was transferred from another group that won’t report its donors until later this month.
Meanwhile, President Biden, his joint fundraising team and the Democratic National Committee raised nearly as much money as all the Republican presidential candidates combined.
More modest Republicans — such as Nikki Haley, the former South Carolina governor and United Nations ambassador — seem to have long-term solid support and lean campaign operations. About a third of former New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie’s $1.6 million haul came from smaller donors, which speaks to Republicans’ high and relatively broad appeal.
Beyond DeSantis, there were warning signs for Republicans. Former Vice President Mike Pence brought in $1.2 million in paltry contributions, raising questions about whether he could garner meaningful support among Republicans.
And then there are the self-funded candidates whose campaigns last as long as they’re willing to spend their own fortunes — at least for now, and they’re certainly spending a lot.
Here are some excerpts from filings detailing fundraising and spending from April 1 to June 30.
DeSantis relies on big money… and he spends it fast.
During the six weeks between entering the race and the end of the quarter, Mr. DeSantis raised $19.7 million for his campaign, $16.9 million of which came from contributions over $200, a sign of his reliance on large-dollar contributions.
And he spends that money — fast.
His campaign spent nearly $7.9 million in those six weeks, he filed Saturday. $1.3 million in higher expenses was allocated to travel (many vendors appear to be private jet charter services); a salary of more than $1 million; And more than $800,000 each for digital fundraising consulting, media placement and postage.
That’s a “burn rate” of 40 percent, compared to other Republican candidates. Senator Tim Scott of South Carolina reported raising nearly $5.9 million in the second quarter and spending $6.7 million. But he had a cushion: He carried $22 million from his Senate campaign into his presidential run.
Mr. DeSantis reported $12.2 million cash on hand at the end of June; Mr. Scott had $21 million. By comparison, Ms. Haley’s campaign took in $5.3 million, spent $2.6 million and had about $6.8 million in cash.
The full picture of Trump’s war chest is still unclear.
In polls of Republican candidates, Mr. Trump is in hiding and has vast financial resources and fundraising ability. But his exact financial situation is complicated.
This month, the Trump campaign said the former president raised more than $35 million in the second quarter through his joint fundraising team, which then transfers the money to his campaign and political action group.
His campaign’s filings on Saturday recorded a total of $17.7 million in receipts — including contributions, transfers and refunds — all of which came in transfers from the joint fundraising group.
Where is the remaining $35 million? A joint fundraising committee is not required to file its report by the end of the month. The New York Times reported last month that Mr. Trump had sent more money from the coalition to the PAC in recent months.
Pence joins the stragglers.
Asa Hutchinson, the former governor of Arkansas, raised about $500,000 in the second quarter, and former Texas congressman Will Hurd raised just $270,000.
While these long-shot candidates aren’t expected to raise tons of money, observers may have expected more from former Vice President Mike Pence, who had just $1.2 million in contributions.
Mr. Pence also spent very little — just $74,000, his filings show. His campaign has not said whether he has reached the 40,000 individual donor threshold, one of the requirements to appear on the Republican debate stage on Aug. 23.
Self-funded candidates are also burning with money.
On Friday, North Dakota Gov. Doug Burgum, a wealthy former software engineer, filed its quarterly report showing he raised $1.5 million in contributions and loaned his campaign $10 million.
Mr. Burgum’s campaign spent more than $8.1 million last quarter, including an eye-watering $6 million in advertising, filings show. At the end of the month he had $3.6 million cash on hand.
Another Republican candidate, wealthy businessman Vivek Ramaswamy, reported receiving $2.3 million in donations and $5 million in loans from him last quarter. Mr. Ramaswamy has given $15.25 million to his campaign since entering the race in February; He has said he will spend $100 million on his bid.
It may be necessary if he continues to spend. He spent more than $8 million from April to June, including $1.5 million on media placements and hundreds of thousands of dollars on travel.
President Biden’s campaign is very small.
It was already clear that the Biden campaign was running a small operation, but on Saturday it became clear just how thin it is. By the end of June, the president’s re-election bid had a total of four staff members.
Mr. Biden’s campaign expenses list two people as consultants, one for communications and the other as an accountant, but so far the bulk of the Biden campaign has been run by officials at the White House and the Democratic National Committee.
Mr. Biden’s campaign, the Democratic National Committee and its affiliated fundraising groups reported $77 million in cash on hand at the end of June after raising $72 million during the three-month reporting period. Although the campaign will add a handful of staffers starting July 1, it plans to outsource large parts of its operations to the national team.