Ron DeSantis turns to Wall Street executives, top lawyer for fundraising boost to catch Trump

Republican U.S. presidential candidate and Florida Governor Ron DeSantis speaks during his “Never Back Down” tour ahead of his appearance at the Iowa State Fair, in Atlantic, Iowa, August 11, 2023.

Scott Morgan | Reuters

Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis is turning to a group of executives from Wall Street and a top lawyer for a fundraising boost as he aims to close the gap on Donald Trump in the race to be the Republican nominee for president, according to invites to two upcoming events in New York.

DeSantis will be hosted at a fundraising breakfast on Thursday in New York by at least seven wealthy executives, according to one invite.

The hosts include longtime attorney William Burck, David Blumberg, the founder of Blumberg Capital, Steve Hornstein, an executive at investment advisory firm Global Credit Advisers, and Mark Gerson, the co-founder of financial information services company Gerson Lehrman Group, according to the invite.

Burck has previously represented former Trump advisors while they faced legal hurdles, including Steve Bannon and former Secretary of State Mike Pompeo.

DeSantis’ fundraising trip to New York comes as he’s lagging the former president in polls. Trump is favored in the Republican primary with 62% support, followed by DeSantis at 12%, according to a new Quinnipiac poll.

Later Thursday, DeSantis will be at a lunch hosted by Emil Henry, the CEO of private equity firm Tiger Infrastructure Partners, according to another invite.

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Henry is a longtime Republican Party fundraiser and was an advisor to Sen. Mitt Romney’s 2012 campaign for president, according to NBC News. He also worked as the assistant secretary of the Treasury during President George W. Bush’s administration.

Tickets to be considered a “host” for the breakfast are going for $11,600 per person, the invite says. The invite lists a suggested minimum contribution of $1,500 to get into the event. The lunch is charging $11,600 per person to get into the event and be on the “host committee,” according to the invite. Attendees can also give $3,300 instead to attend.

The money raised for both events is going to be split through a DeSantis joint fundraising account between the campaign and a leadership political action committee called the Great American Comeback, according to the invites. That leadership PAC has not raised any money this cycle, according to Federal Election Commission filings.

A person familiar with the events told CNBC that the two New York gatherings, along with another taking place on Wednesday in Connecticut, are set to raise a combined $1 million for DeSantis’ political operation. About 50 people are set to attend each of the New York events. This person declined to be named in order to speak freely about the private events.

DeSantis’ campaign raised over $20 million in the second quarter and burned through $7 million, taking the campaign into the third quarter with about $12 million on hand, according to FEC records. Trump’s campaign raised about $17 million over that same time period but went into the third quarter with over $22 million on hand.

A DeSantis campaign spokesman did not return a request for comment before publication.

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