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Ron DeSantis Is Helping the GOP in This Key Primary State

AP Photo/Ron Johnson

The battle for the 2024 Republican presidential nomination is largely expected to come down to former and potentially future President Donald Trump and Gov. Ron DeSantis (R-FL). Trump is running away with his lead in the polls, but he's also had the advantage of having declared last November, while DeSantis is expected to announce sometime after the Florida state legislature ends its session in May. That being said, DeSantis certainly carries star power in his own regard, including and especially when it comes fundraising.

DeSantis will be headlining the Amos Tuck fundraising dinner in Manchester, New Hampshire on Friday night. Chris Ager, the state party chairman told Fox News that the over $250,000 that the event is bringing in is a "record." He also shared that they had to close ticket sales earlier this week at 520 people.

New Hampshire is considered a popular destination for presidential candidates, even those who have not yet formally declared or are still mulling over a run. It's the first primary state and second contest only to the Iowa caucus, though the Democratic Party has gone through lengths to upend that process for their candidates and make South Carolina the first in the nation, causing disarray among their own members.  

As our friends at Twitchy have highlighted, what makes such fundraising even more noteworthy is that they stand in stark contrast to a report just last week from Puck News' Tara Palmeri, the same reporter who had raised the question last month wondering if DeSantis was using the diabetes drug Ozempic to lose weight. 

DeSantis War Room's Christina Pushaw posted a screenshot of Palmeri's tweet sharing her article from April 6 claiming "DeSantis Donor Quakes & New Hampshire Foibles."

Pushaw's screenshot also includes a tweet from Mark Halperin sharing a Friday morning NH Journal article announcing that "DeSantis Speech Sets NHGOP Fundraising Record."

"Record-breaking fundraiser for the state party," Ager had told NHJournal on Friday morning. "Largest fundraiser in the history of the NHGOP, raising more than a quarter of a million dollars. Ticket sales were halted earlier this week after we exceeded planned capacity."

And, when it comes to those "legitimate 'sources'" that Pushaw mentions, it's worth noting that she has a point in being wary of them, given where they may have come from. "According to sources in both New Hampshire and elsewhere, those stories were coming from allies of the Trump campaign, who’ve been working the press hard with stories of DeSantis’ alleged shortcomings on the campaign trail," the piece mentions. 

Ager had also told the Washington Examiner that previous reports of problems with ticket sales was "totally fake news." The Washington Examiner links to Puck's piece from April 6, and also mentions statements from Ager speaking to DeSantis' appeal.

"He has enacted policies in Florida that many people in New Hampshire applaud. And he's been a very successful governor of a large state. And so that could give you an indication of his potential success running the country," Ager pointed out. "People like to hear from him directly without the filter."

"There's high anticipation from our activist base to hear directly from the governor. And we were very pleased that he accepted our invitation," Ager added.

As is the case with other polls, a St. Anselm College Survey Center poll out of New Hampshire, which was conducted March 28-30 shows that Trump has a double-digit lead over DeSantis, with 42 percent to DeSantis' 29 percent. It's worth noting that the poll was conducted and released before the "record" fundraising numbers were relesed. 

A write-up from WMUR 9 at the time highlighted how it "is shaping up as a two-person race between" Trump and DeSantis, and that Neil Levesque, director of the New Hampshire Institute of Politics, believes DeSantis could be within striking distance. "He hasn't even come to the state of New Hampshire yet, so we'll wait to see if that sort of expectation holds," Levesque said. 

DeSantis has been to other states with early primaries, as the Fox News report highlighted, including Iowa and Nevada, and will be going to South Carolina next week. 

South Carolina's former Gov. Nikki Haley has already declared a run for the Republican presidential primary, and Sen. Tim Scott has announced an exploratory committee. Polling out of South Carolina from Winthrop University among Republican vorers from earlier this week found that both finished behind DeSantis with his 20 percent, who finished a distant second behind Trump's 41 percent. Haley finished a close third with 18 percent, though, while Scott came in fourth with 7 percent.  Such a poll was conducted and released before DeSantis' trip to South Carolina, though. 

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