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The DeSantis Donor Class’s Wandering Eye

Ron DeSantis has a schedule packed with intimate events, instead of the back-to-back town halls that he so desperately needs to reach thousands of voters inexpensively.
Ron DeSantis has a schedule packed with intimate events, instead of the back-to-back town halls that he so desperately needs to reach thousands of voters inexpensively. Photo: Roy Rochlin/Getty Images
Tara Palmeri
July 27, 2023

It’s been a long, harrowing fortnight for Ron DeSantis, the former putative political wunderkind who I’ve been reporting for months was more of a Republican donor’s fantasy of a candidate than an actual voter’s. But after watching DeSantis shed 38 staffers, and after assessing days of leaked memos and background quotes promising a great reset, those heavily invested in the DeSantasy are now wondering if it’s time to jump ship, and to whom. 

Many are looking hard at how DeSantis fares in Iowa and New Hampshire. “It’s still a two person race,” said Canary C.E.O. Dan Eberhart, a former Trump donor who has bundled and maxed out to DeSantis. “DeSantis needs to make a shift and make a decisive showing in Iowa or it’s going to be a one man race. He’s spending too much and needs to adjust.” He continued: “He needs to tell voters what he’s going to do for them, and drop a lot of the culture war stuff.”