An ongoing dispute has emerged between supporters of billionaire Vivek Ramaswamy and Florida Governor Ron DeSantis over the most recent round of fundraising data for the 2024 presidential candidates. In an effort to gain the support of the American people, both candidates are fighting for the title of front-runner among non-Trump contenders. The Federal Election Commission (FEC) reports that the central issue in this dispute centers on the $15.2 million in debt that the Vivek 2024 campaign incurred. Moreover, during the quarter, the campaign's cash on hand decreased from $9 million to $4.2 million.
Social media users quickly got into a debate about these funding numbers, with accounts in favor of DeSantis adding their voices. A user who was a strong advocate for DeSantis, @JoeStief, wrote, "Ramaswamy – more debt than cash; oof!" However, it's important to note that, according to the FEC, Mr. Ramaswamy's loans to his own campaign appear to be the main source of Vivek 2024's debt.
Senior counselor to the Ramaswamy campaign Tricia McLaughlin brushed down the emphasis on debt that Governor DeSantis's internet supporters were putting out. She claimed that the focus on debt was prompted by a Politico article that emphasized Ramaswamy's large number of modest donors in contrast to DeSantis's dependence on large donors. It was hinted by McLaughlin that Team DeSantis could prefer not to be associated with "mega-donor supporters." Unfortunately, the DeSantis team chose not to respond to McLaughlin's remarks.
The aforementioned Politico article disclosed that, in spite of utilizing his own finances for his campaign, Ramaswamy has managed to establish a wide network of modest contributors. In comparison, DeSantis depends more on larger donors despite leading in surveys and overall fundraising.
Ramaswamy did not require more self-loans, as reported by the FEC, as he contributed over $1 million to his own campaign in the most recent quarter. Additionally, the Vivek 2024 campaign received over $2.8 million in small-dollar donations during this reporting period—a substantial increase over the prior quarter. But over the course of the election season, including this reporting period, DeSantis has continued to dominate in larger donations.
Ramaswamy, DeSantis Allies Spar Over Money As Candidates Seek That Small-Dollar Lookhttps://t.co/CKBvmjzlYB
— Nathan Worcester (@nnworcester) October 18, 2023
Notably, Ramaswamy is not the only contender who had debt that she paid for herself. Longshot candidate Perry Johnson has loaned his campaign more than $12.5 million so far. He filed a complaint with the FEC about his exclusion from the first Republican debate. Although Johnson's campaign managed to raise less than $69,000 in small-dollar donations, Ramaswamy and DeSantis both received significant amounts of these kinds of contributions.
The majority of the approximately $24.5 million in revenues reported by the campaign of former president Donald Trump for the most recent quarter came from his Save America joint fundraising committee. Although not as much as her primary competitors, former South Carolina governor Nikki Haley, a Republican candidate, reported receiving over $1.7 million in small-dollar contributions.
Small-dollar contributions were equally successful for President Joe Biden's campaign committee, which raised nearly $3.6 million. Over $24.7 million was raised for Biden's campaign, more than Trump's stated receipts for the same quarter. The Biden Action Fund and other approved groups also contributed nearly $18 million to his campaign; a significant amount of this came from smaller contributions.
Last but not least, small-dollar donations to Robert F. Kennedy Jr.'s Team Kennedy campaign totaled over $2.77 million this quarter, up from $2.3 million the previous quarter. As the 2024 presidential contest heats up, fundraising numbers are an important barometer of each candidate's popularity and financial resources.