Biotech entrepreneur Vivek Ramaswamy got a fundraising boost after the first presidential debate in Wisconsin.
Mr. Ramaswamy has taken in $450,000 since the debate, with an average donation of $38, his spokeswoman Tricia McLaughlin told The Associated Press on Aug. 24
With the absence of former President Donald Trump, Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis was expected to take the spotlight at the first GOP debate. However, it was Mr. Ramaswamy who took center stage with a strong showing on the national stage.
According to a Drudge Report poll on who won the first Republican debate, Mr. Ramaswamy led with 34 percent of votes, followed by former U.N. Ambassador Nikki Haley with 23 percent, Mr. DeSantis with 18 percent, and former New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie with 16 percent.
In a separate poll by Daily Mail, conducted by J.L. Partners inquiring 504 Republicans, 28 percent said Mr. Ramaswamy had the best debate performance, followed closely by Mr. DeSantis with 27 percent, former Vice President Mike Pence with 13 percent, Sen. Tim Scott (R-S.C.) with 8 percent, and Ms. Haley with 7 percent.
Mr. Ramaswamy drew praise for bringing up the crisis of fatherlessness in the United States during the debate.
“The word ‘privilege’ gets used a lot,” Mr. Ramaswamy said. “Well, you know what? I did have the ultimate privilege of two parents in the house with a focus on educational achievement, and I want every kid to enjoy that. So, part of the problem is we also have a federal government that pays single women more not to have a man in the house than to have a man in the house, contributing to an epidemic of fatherlessness.”
He added, “And I think that goes hand in glove with the education crisis as well because we have to remember, education starts with the family, and the nuclear family is the greatest form of governance known to mankind.”
Rep. Lauren Boebert (R-Colo.) took to X, formerly known as Twitter, to praise Mr. Ramaswamy for his comments on climate change, saying “[he] is right—more people are dying from climate change policies than from climate change.”
Mr. Ramaswamy also drew praise from former President Donald Trump, over his comments during the debate that “President Trump, I believe, was the best president of the 21st century. It’s a fact.”
President Trump, who did not take part in the debate, shared a video clip of Mr. Ramaswamy’s statements on his Truth Social account and wrote “This answer gave Vivek Ramaswamy a big WIN in the debate because of a thing called TRUTH. Thank you Vivek!”
At one point during the debate, Mr. Ramaswamy got into heated arguments with Ms. Haley over the Ukraine war. The Biotech entrepreneur had said he would not support Ukraine in the war against Russia, arguing that “Ukraine is not a priority for the United States of America,” and “The real threat we face today is Communist China, and we are driving Russia further into China’s arms.”
In response, Ms. Haley criticized her rival for wanting to “hand Ukraine to Russia,” before adding, “You have no foreign policy experience and it shows.”
Mr. Ramaswamy, a political newcomer, raised more than $7.7 million in the second quarter, according to his Federal Election Commission (FEC) filing. He ended the second quarter with about $9 million in cash on hand.
According to the most recent poll (pdf) by McLaughlin and Associates, which inquired 450 likely voters between Aug. 15 and Aug. 23, Mr. Trump was in the lead with 51 percent of support, followed by Mr. Ramaswamy with 13 percent, and Mr. DeSantis with 9 percent.
Mr. Pence, Mr. Scott, and Mr. Christie were tied in fourth place with 4 percent of support each. Ms. Haley finished with 3 percent of support.