DeSantis camp looks to reverse high burn rate to quell donor nerves

DeSantis camp looks to reverse high burn rate to quell scaled | ltc-a

The filing shows DeSantis looked to tamp down on campaign spending — particularly as wealthy donors continued to sit on the sidelines and expressed concern about his operation. DeSantis spent nearly $6 million in July, $3.8 million in August and just $1.3 million in September. Over the summer, the DeSantis team paid four companies for private travel — Empyreal Jet, Silver Air Private Jets, Advanced Aviation Team and Avion Aviation — but appears to have ceased using them, per the FEC report.

Desantis also cut costs by reducing staff over the course of the quarter. His campaign spent just shy of $1.3 million on payroll. On July 14, the team paid 90 people, according to a POLITICO analysis of his filing. By Sept. 29, the last payday of the quarter, only 63 staffers were on payroll. (Not everyone is paid directly; former campaign manager Generra Peck, for instance, is no longer officially on payroll but is now paid through her firm GP3 Partners.)

Adding to the campaign’s financial troubles, it owes money to several vendors, mostly for expenses related to direct mail. The yet-to-be-paid invoices total just over $1 million.

All told, DeSantis still has $12.3 million of the $31.3 million he’s raised so far for his White House bid. But he can only spend $5 million of that during the primary — the rest is earmarked for the general election, should he make it that far.

DeSantis has relied heavily on his super PAC to pick up the tab. At times, he has been transported by Never Back Down — the PAC closely aligned with his candidacy, which benefited from an $82-million transfer from one of his Florida accounts earlier this year. (The group’s latest FEC filing will be made public in January.)

But super PACs are not legally permitted to coordinate directly with campaigns. And as DeSantis intensifies his push to challenge frontrunner Donald Trump in the early-voting states of Iowa and New Hampshire, he will likely need an infusion of donations to sustain his operations.

Fortunately for him, there was some good news on that front.

Donors increased their pace of giving over the third quarter: Contributions exceeding $200 — the threshold to be itemized by the FEC — accounted for 71 percent of his fundraising and increased each month throughout the quarter.

More than 380 of DeSantis’ donors are Floridians. They include Michael DiNapoli, the executive director of Florida’s affordable housing agency who was suspended last month; Glen Gilzean, the administrator overseeing the district surrounding Walt Disney World now that it’s controlled by DeSantis-appointed board members and Adrian Lukis, DeSantis’ former chief of staff in the governor’s office who is now a partner at the lobbying firm Ballard Partners.

They also include James Allen, who is in charge of gaming operations for the Seminole Tribe of Florida, which has a $2.5 billion gambling pact with the state that’s currently being challenged and held up in court.

Kimberly Leonard contributed to this report.