When a more complete financial picture of the 2024 presidential race emerged with a campaign submission deadline on Saturday, problems seemed to lurk beneath the surface for Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis.
Despite a strong overall fundraising of $20 million, Mr. DeSantis is spending in spades, and his reliance on major donors suggests a lack of grassroots support. Former President Donald J. Trump’s campaign has recorded $17.7 million in fundraising, almost all of it transferred from another committee that won’t report its donors until later this month.
Meanwhile, President Biden and the Democratic National Committee have raised nearly as much money as all the Republican presidential candidates combined.
Some of the more modest Republican gainers — like Nikki Haley, the former South Carolina governor and UN ambassador — appear to have solid support and streamlined campaign operations built for the long haul. About a third of former New Jersey Governor Chris Christie’s $1.6 million haul came from smaller donors, which is high for Republicans and could speak to a relatively broad appeal.
Warning signs have emerged for Republicans in addition to DeSantis. Former Vice President Mike Pence brought in a meager $1.2 million, raising questions about whether he can garner meaningful support among Republicans.
Then there are the self-funded candidates, whose campaigns will last as long as they’re willing to spend their fortunes — and at least for now, they’re certainly spending big.
Here are some starting points from the documents, detailing the fundraising and spending from April 1 to June 30.
DeSantis is relying on a lot of money… and he’s spending it fast.
In the six weeks between his entry into 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 exceeding $200, a sign of his addiction to large contributions.
He’s also spending that money, fast.
His filings on Saturday showed his campaign spent nearly $7.9 million in those six weeks. Major expenses included $1.3 million for travel (several providers appear to be private jet charter services); more than $1 million for payroll; and more than $800,000 each for digital consulting for fundraising, media placement, and postage.
That’s a burn rate of about 40 percent, which is on the high end 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 more than a cushion: He brought in $22 million from his Senate campaign into his presidential race.
Mr. DeSantis reported $12.2 million in cash at the end of June; Mr. Scott had $21 million.
A full picture of Trump’s war chest is still unclear.
Mr. Trump is the runaway leader in polls of Republican candidates and has ample financial resources and fundraising capabilities. But his exact cash situation is complicated.
This month, the Trump campaign said the former president raised more than $35 million in the second quarter through its joint fundraising committee, which then transfers the money to his campaign and a political action committee.
His campaign filing on Saturday reported a total of $17.7 million in revenue — which includes contributions, transfers and refunds — nearly all of which came from transfers from the Joint Fundraising Committee.
Where is the rest of the reported $35 million? The Joint Fundraising Committee is not required to submit its report until the end of the month. The New York Times reported last month that Trump has directed more of the money from the joint committee to the PAC in recent months, which he has used to pay his own legal fees.
Pence joins the latecomers.
Trailing behind the Republican pack are former Governor Asa Hutchinson of Arkansas, who raised about $500,000 in the second quarter, and Will Hurd, a former congressman from Texas, who raised just $270,000.
While these long-term candidates weren’t expected to raise tons of cash, observers might have expected more from former Vice President Mike Pence, who reported just $1.2 million in contributions.
Mr. Pence also spent very little: just $74,000, his records show. His campaign did not say whether he met the 40,000 unique donor mark, one of the requirements to appear on the stage for the Republican debate on Aug. 23.
Even self-funded applicants are burning through cash.
On Friday, North Dakota’s campaign Governor Doug Burgum, a wealthy former software engineer, presented its quarterly report, showing that he had raised $1.5 million in contributions and had lent $10 million to his campaign.
Mr. Burgum’s campaign spent more than $8.1 million last quarter, including a mind-boggling $6 million on advertising, the filings show. At the end of the month, he had $3.6 million in cash.
Another Republican candidate, wealthy businessman Vivek Ramaswamy, reported $2.3 million in contributions last quarter, as well as $5 million in loans from himself. Mr. Ramaswamy has lent his campaign $15.25 million since he entered the race in February; he said he will spend $100 million of his own money on his offer.
He may need it if he keeps spending. It spent more than $8 million from April to June, including $1.5 million on media placements and hundreds of thousands of dollars on travel.