As a more complete financial picture of the 2024 presidential race emerged with a Saturday campaign filing deadline, problems seemed to lurk just below the surface for Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis.
Despite a strong overall fundraising total of $20 million, Mr. DeSantis is overspending, and his reliance on big donors suggests a lack of grassroots support. Former President Donald J. Trump’s campaign logged $17.7 million in fundraising, nearly all of which was transferred from another committee that won’t tell donors about it until later this month.
Meanwhile, President Biden, his joint fundraising committee, and the Democratic National Committee raised almost as much money as all the Republican presidential candidates combined.
Some of the more modestly-earning Republicans, like Nikki Haley, the former governor of South Carolina and ambassador to the United Nations, appear to have solid support and lean campaign operations built for the long haul. About a third of the $1.6 million raised by former New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie came from smaller donors, which is high for Republicans and might speak to relatively broad appeal.
Warning signs emerged for Republicans beyond DeSantis. Former Vice President Mike Pence put up a paltry $1.2 million in contributions, raising questions about whether he can garner significant support among Republicans.
Then there are the self-funded candidates, whose campaigns will last as long as they’re willing to spend their own fortunes, and for now at least, they’re certainly spending big.
Here are some takeaways from the presentations, detailing fundraising and spending from April 1 to June 30.
DeSantis relies on a lot of money … and he’s spending it fast.
In the six weeks between entering 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 of more than $200, a sign of his reliance on large dollar contributions.
You’re spending that money too, 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 fundraising consulting, media placement, and postage.
It’s a “consumption rate” of about 40 percent, which is on the high end compared to the other Republican candidates. Senator Tim Scott of South Carolina reported that he raised nearly $5.9 million in the second quarter and spent $6.7 million. But he had more than one cushion: he brought $22 million from his Senate campaign to his presidential run.
Mr. DeSantis reported $12.2 million in cash on hand at the end of June; Mr. Scott had $21 million. By comparison, Ms. Haley’s campaign raised $5.3 million, spent $2.6 million and reported about $6.8 million in cash on hand.
A full picture of Trump’s war chest is still unclear.
Trump is the runaway leader in the Republican candidate polls and has extensive financial resources and fundraising ability. But his exact monetary situation is complicated.
This month, the Trump campaign said the former president had raised more than $35 million in the second quarter through his joint fundraising committee, which then passes the money on to his campaign and a political action committee.
His campaign filing on Saturday reported a total of $17.7 million in receipts, including contributions, transfers and refunds, nearly all of which came from joint fundraising committee transfers.
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 in recent months Trump has diverted more money from the joint committee to the PAC, which he has used to pay his legal bills.
Pence joins the stragglers.
Bringing up the rear of the Republican pack are former Gov. 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 shot candidates weren’t expected to raise tons of money, observers might have expected more from former Vice President Mike Pence, who reported just $1.2 million in contributions.
Mr. Pence has also spent very little: just $74,000, his filing shows. His campaign has not said whether he has reached the threshold of 40,000 unique donors, one of the requirements to appear on the stage of the Republican debate on August 23.
Self-funded candidates are also burning cash.
On Friday, the campaign of North Dakota Gov. Doug Burgum, a wealthy former software engineer, filed its quarterly report, showing he had raised $1.5 million in contributions and lent $10 million to his campaign.
Burgum’s campaign spent more than $8.1 million last quarter, including $6 million on advertising, the documents show. He had $3.6 million in cash on hand at the end of the month.
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 loaned his campaign $15.25 million since he entered the race in February; He has said that he will spend $100 million of his own money on his offer.
You may need to if you keep spending. It spent more than $8 million from April to June, including $1.5 million on media advertising and hundreds of thousands of dollars on travel.
President Biden’s campaign is still very small.
It was already obvious that the Biden campaign was running a small operation, but on Saturday it became clear exactly how thin. As of the end of June, the president’s re-election effort had a total of four employees.
Two other people were listed in Biden’s campaign spending as consultants, one for communications and one as an accountant, but so far much of Biden’s still-fledgling campaign is run by White House and Democratic National Committee officials.
Mr. Biden’s campaign, the Democratic National Committee and their affiliated fundraising committees reported a combined total of $77 million in cash available at the end of June after raising $72 million over the three-month reporting period. While the campaign has added some staff since July 1, it plans to continue to outsource much of its activity to the national committee.