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Ron DeSantis just reported his best fundraising week of the campaign

But Andrew Gillum, his Democratic opponent in the governor's race, is also raising some serious scratch.
Gillum (left) and DeSantis (right).
Published Oct. 17, 2018

Ron DeSantis' gubernatorial campaign just raised $8.2 million in one week, a staggering total that easily amounted to the Republican's strongest fundraising week of the entire election season.

Over $7 million of that money, which was raised between Sept. 29 and Oct. 5, went to DeSantis' political committee, Friends of Ron DeSantis. A single donor, hedge fund billionaire Kenneth C. Griffin, gave $5 million himself — perhaps the largest single non-candidate contribution of the governor's race.

Direct contributions to candidates, which may not exceed $3,000, are also pouring into DeSantis' campaign coffers. DeSantis pulled in more in those smaller-dollar donations during the first week of October than during any other week of his campaign, raising almost $1.2 million. It was the first week of the governor's race DeSantis cracked seven figures in campaign contributions.

Despite DeSantis' huge week — and the fact that he's raised millions more than his Democratic opponent overall — he's still losing the cash battle. Between his campaign and political committee, DeSantis had about $6.6 million cash on hand as of Oct. 5. His opponent, Andrew Gillum, had about $7.8 million.

Gillum continues to have the edge over DeSantis in direct campaign contributions. Between Sept. 22 and Sept. 28, Gillum's campaign raised $1.72 million in those smaller-dollar donations — his best week of the campaign. The first week of October, he out-raised DeSantis again in small-dollar donations.

But that doesn't mean Gillum lacks a big money machine of his own. Forward Florida, the Democrat's political committee, has also been raking in money in recent weeks. It raised over $8.1 million between Sept. 22 and Oct. 5., easily its best two-week stretch of the campaign. Forward Florida's largest donors in that time were the Democratic Governor's Association and the American Federation of Teachers, a national teacher's union.

Expect the massive influx of national cash into the Florida governor's race to continue. Under Florida campaign finance rules, political committees can raise unlimited amounts of money to "expressly advocate the election or defeat of a candidate or issue" as long as they don't coordinate directly with candidates.