Already a member? Log In

The DeSantis Megadonor Panic Room

Republican presidential candidate Ron DeSantis speaks to guests during a campaign rally at the Thunderdome on December 02, 2023, in Newton, Iowa.
Bundling is laborious work: It relies on enthusiasm, and it’s clear that enthusiasm for DeSantis—outside of his Yale homies and Florida lobbyists—has waned. Photo: Scott Olson/Getty Images
Theodore Schleifer
December 5, 2023

Last May, upon the swaggering debut of the DeSantis presidential campaign, I flew down to Miami to stake out the Four Seasons, where some 150 eager and ego-filled bundlers bounded about—barking into phones, cavorting in the hotel bar, rifling through their iPhone contacts—in the hopes of raising ungodly sums of money to dethrone Donald Trump in Iowa and beyond. The bundlers, holed up in a luxury hotel equivalent of a bomb shelter to participate in the “Ron-o-Rama,” wielded clipboards and wore campaign pins, proudly indicating their membership on the team since “Day One.” The campaign raised a record $8.2 million in its first 24 hours.