Inside the 'Ron-o-Rama,' where DeSantis supporters are 'dialing for dollars' at the luxurious Miami Four Seasons and raising millions for him
- DeSantis supporters gathered at the Four Seasons in Miami to raise cash for the 2024 campaign.
- Online donations and the fundraising effort resulted in more than $8 million in 24 hours.
MIAMI, Florida — The 2024 campaign for Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis raised more than $8 million in 24 hours thanks to online donations and donors who gathered at the Four Seasons for a three-day fundraising event dubbed "Ron-O-Rama."
The fundraising blitz resulted in more than $8.2 million raised in 24 hours, according to numbers first shared with the New York Times and later confirmed by the campaign. The sum exceeds the $6.3 million President Joe Biden raised in his first 24 hours in 2019.
The donor gathering kicked off Wednesday as participants began doing what's known as "dialing for dollars" and receiving swag that included baseball hats, pens, and stress squeeze balls.
During a presentation given to donors on Thursday, advisers made the case that DeSantis could win the 2024 GOP nomination by showing polling data that had him leading in early voting states, and casting him as more conservative than Trump, according to The Messenger.
Politico also reported the polling information and was first to publish the Ron-O-Rama nickname, which Insider confirmed. DeSantis stopped in to greet the group in the early afternoon and is expected back during a reception this evening, the Miami Herald reported.
The campaign raised its first $1 million within an hour after its launch Wednesday on Twitter, though the event suffered through nearly 30 minutes of glitches before DeSantis was able to make his formal announcement.
DeSantis, 44, promised to "lead our great American comeback" and his formal entrance into the race puts him as the top rival against former President Donald Trump, though the ex-president is still a distant favorite and five other candidates are also seeking the nomination.
At the Four Seasons in the Brickell financial district of Miami, the Twitter audio-only event on Wednesday was broadcast over loudspeakers to the fundraisers during a reception in one of the hotel's ballrooms, according to an attendee. The event provided an open bar and guests were served shrimp, scallops, cheese, and chicken skewers.
Biscayne Bay-facing rooms at the hotel retail for $745 a night, according to the Four Seasons website.
Throughout the day Thursday, DeSantis hit the press circuit with 12 conservative TV, radio, and podcast interviews that included the Glenn Beck Program and Dana Loesch. He also signed numerous bills into law. One was a $2.7 billion tax cut that will do away with Florida's 6% sales tax on numerous items, including a permanent tax cut on baby needs and a temporary one on disaster preparedness products.
DeSantis told radio host Matt Murphy that he didn't regret going with Twitter, saying that he thought the event ended up having a higher reach than a traditional rally would have. The campaign has cast the Twitter malfunction as a sign of overwhelming interest in a DeSantis presidential run. By Thursday afternoon, the campaign was selling merch about the event.
—Kimberly Leonard (@leonardkl) May 25, 2023
DeSantis campaign manager Generra Peck said in a statement that the fundraising haul demonstrated that voters were uniting behind the governor. Next week DeSantis will hold events in Iowa, New Hampshire, and South Carolina.
During the media tour, the governor also became more assertive when it came to attacking Trump, telling Murphy that the ex-president was "a different guy today than when he was running in 2015 and 2016" and was "going left." On Good Morning NH, he said Trump through his attacks was "showing everybody that he understands that I've got a good chance to beat him because he doesn't criticize anybody else."
Some pro-LGBTQ+ rights protestors gathered outside the DeSantis fundraiser on Thursday, but Insider observed they were being turned away from the entrance. One ate out of a chocolate pudding cup using three fingers, a nod to a story that went viral in the Daily Beast about the governor's eating habits.
The Miami Herald reported that more than 100 protesters gathered here Wednesday. Press were also not permitted inside the hotel.
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