The release of the latest quarterly fundraising figures for 2024 presidential hopefuls has led to a now-familiar dynamic: people associated with businessman Vivek Ramaswamy battling those associated with Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis, as both men fight to occupy the narrowing lane for a non-Trump candidate while sounding like the voice of “We the People.”
The latest spat concerned $15.2 million in debt owed by the Vivek 2024 campaign, per its filing with the Federal Election Commission (FEC). The campaign is also down to $4.2 million cash on hand from $9 million at the beginning of the quarter.
Talk of those figures spread among pro-DeSantis accounts on X, formerly Twitter.
@JoeStief, whose profile on the website advertises his allegiance to what he calls #TeamDeSanity, wrote, “Ramaswamy – more debt than cash; oof!”
But Vivek 2024’s debt apparently comes from loans of personal funds by Mr. Ramaswamy to his campaign, as reported on the FEC’s website.
Tricia McLaughlin, senior advisor for the Ramaswamy campaign, took issue with the debt-focused angle from the Florida governor’s online allies.
“That came from a DeSantis surrogate right after a Politico story dropped saying Vivek dwarfs DeSantis in small-dollar donors while DeSantis gets more mega-donors. Team DeSantis doesn’t want to look like mega-donor simps,” she told The Epoch Times.
The DeSantis campaign did not return multiple requests for comment on Ms. McLaughlin’s statement.
That Politico story pointed out that Mr. Ramaswamy, though still pouring his own money into a campaign, has a broader small-dollar base than Mr. DeSantis, even as Mr. DeSantis continues leading him in the polls and overall fundraising.
Small Dollars in 2024 Campaigns
Mr. Ramaswamy loaned his campaign $5 million and contributed more than $440,000 to himself last quarter, per the FEC. This quarter, FEC reporting indicates he didn’t loan himself any money. But it shows he did contribute more than $1 million to himself.
Vivek 2024’s new quarterly filing shows the campaign collected more than $2.8 million in small-dollar donations—that is, donations of $200 or less. That’s up from a little more than $1.2 million of such donations reported during the previous quarter.
Ron DeSantis for President reported over $2.5 million in small-dollar donations during the latest quarter. That’s down from more than $2.8 million in small-dollar donations in the previous quarter’s filing.
Yet, Mr. DeSantis far outpaced Mr. Ramaswamy in larger donations during the most recent reporting period and in the election cycle to date.
Mr. Ramaswamy’s campaign isn’t the only one with self-funding debt.
Businessman Perry Johnson, a longshot candidate who filed a formal complaint with the FEC over his exclusion from the first Republican debate, has loaned his campaign more than $12.5 million to date, according to FEC filings. As of this latest quarter, he reported more than $11.2 million in cash on hand. His campaign also said it took in less than $69,000 in small-dollar donations, a stark contrast to Mr. Ramaswamy and Mr. DeSantis.
Former President Donald J. Trump’s campaign reported more than $24.5 million in receipts this past quarter. The vast majority of that was from his Save America joint fundraising committee.
That committee’s latest filing is its mid-year report, ending June 30. It indicates the body took in more than $27.3 million in small-dollar donations by that point in the calendar year.
The committee representing another Republican contender, former South Carolina Governor Nikki Haley, reported over $1.7 million in small-dollar donations this past quarter, less than what her main rivals racked up.
President Joe Biden’s reelection campaign committee took in more than $3.6 million in small dollars, according to its most recent FEC filing. Its total receipts, at more than $24.7 million, surpassed the Trump campaign’s reported receipts this past quarter.
It also said it received more than $18 million from the Biden Action Fund and other authorized committees, much of which came in the form of smaller donations.
Robert F. Kennedy, Jr.’s Team Kennedy reported more than $2.77 million in small-dollar donations this past quarter, up from more than $2.3 million in such donations during the previous quarter.