A top Republican donor has rowed back on his support of Ron DeSantis due to the Florida governor’s stance on abortion and book bans.
Hungarian-born billionaire Thomas Peterffy had previously said he was ‘looking forward’ to financing the 44-year-old lawmaker’s probable White House bid.
But he told the Financial Times on Saturday that he and ‘a bunch of friends are holding our powder dry’ because of the governor’s ‘stance on abortion and book banning’.
Earlier this week, DeSantis signed-off a new six week abortion ban in Florida worrying many centrist conservatives who see such draconian rules as vote losers. It now heads to the state’s Supreme Court to be rubber-stamped.
‘I have put myself on hold,’ Peterffy said.
‘I am more reluctant to back him. We are waiting to see who among the primary candidates is most likely to be able to win the general, and then put all of our firepower behind them.’
Top Republican donor Thomas Peterffy has halted his support of Florida governor Ron DeSantis for the 2024 presidential nomination due to his stance on abortion on LGBTQ issues
The Florida governor has also struggled to find a way of appealing to Trump’s far-right voter base while positioning himself as a candidate with broader appeal
DeSantis pictured making his first trip to the early voting state of Iowa in March. It would be hard for him to use dollars raised in Florida on a national GOP campaign
DeSantis has not formally announced a run, but is considered Donald Trump’s main rival for the Republican nomination.
He enjoyed a series of stunning successes as the Sunshine State’s governor – but that has not translated to the national stage.
DeSantis has raised $110m – but only $30m of that can be used for a presidential campaign.
His famed aversion to small-talk has also sparked accusations that his national campaigning lacks the flair Donald Trump is known for.
Trump was seen as yesterday’s man up until recently, but has enjoyed a huge poll bounce after being indicted by New York City’s attorney general over hush money payments to a porn star.
The Florida governor has also struggled to find a way of appealing to Trump’s far-right voter base while positioning himself as a candidate with broader appeal.
DeSantis wants to ban books dealing with LGBTQ themes from Florida schools and supported a ban on abortions after six weeks in the state.
The Sunshine State previously banned abortion after 15 weeks, which many small-c conservatives said was a sensible compromise between no time limits, and a total ban on the procedure.
Peterffy, who founded digital trading platform Interactive Brokers, said he didn’t agree with the governor’s stance on the issues.
But he was more supportive of DeSantis in his battle with Disney. The company has opposed the governor’s ‘Don’t Say Gay’ law, which restricts speech about gender and sexuality in schools.
‘I think it’s insane that a company would take a stand on gender issues,’ Peterffy said.
The businessman, 78, who is one of the richest men in Florida with an estimated net worth of $26billion, has long been a top Republican donor. In 2022, he gave $7.7million to individual Republican campaigns and conservative political action committees, according to OpenSecrets campaign finance data.
Former president Donald Trump has enjoyed a huge polls bump in the wake of his indictment over hush money charges, and subsequent arraignment
Trump, until recently-seen as an also-ran, has had his campaign turbocharged by Manhattan DA Alvin Bragg’s indictment and is once-again raising huge sums of cash
Trump appears to enjoy trolling out his poll numbers against DeSantis and President Joe Biden
DeSantis, 44, has a $110 million war chest. But $80 million of that is tied to the Sunshine State, and cannot be transferred to a presidential campaign.
Meanwhile, Donald Trump has enjoyed a huge polls bump in the wake of his indictment over hush money charges, and subsequent arraignment.
Trump, until recently-seen as an also-ran, has had his campaign turbocharged by Manhattan DA Alvin Bragg’s indictment and is once-again raising huge sums of cash.
DeSantis has so far kept many donors at arm’s length while touring the country.
His poll numbers look to have have slumped against Trump in recent weeks with 58 percent supporting Trump compared with just 21 percent backing DeSantis.
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