"A nicer version of Trump": GOP donors flock to DeSantis

As the Republican Party charts its path forward, national donor interest in DeSantis is skyrocketing. Major givers across the country are lining up to support the governor’s 2022 reelection effort, with some committing to hosting fundraising events and others plowing funds into his campaign bank account. In the past two-plus months alone, DeSantis has received six-figure contributions from Republican megadonors including Bernie Marcus, Paul Tudor Jones and Steven Witkoff, who in March held a high-dollar fundraiser at his lavish Miami Beach home.

The surge of attention illustrates how the GOP donor class is beginning to look beyond former President Donald Trump. While the former president would almost certainly lock down vast donor support should he wage a 2024 comeback bid, the lack of clarity about his plans has opened the door for other would-be candidates to get a look. Nearly two dozen top Republican Party contributors and fundraisers said in interviews that the focus was increasingly centered on DeSantis...

But DeSantis’ aggressive courtship of national givers bears striking similarities to the approach then-Texas Gov. George W. Bush used in his 1998 reelection race, which preceded his presidential bid two years later. Bush spent the 1998 campaign traveling the country and introducing himself to the Republican Party’s biggest donors, many of whom contributed to his reelection effort and later became key to his 2000 national campaign.