Campaign donations surge for two GOP candidates following first Republican debate

Despite having to contend with a large number of Republicans who would rather shove burning matchsticks under their eyelids than watch Fox News after the firing of Tucker Carlson and the competing drop of Carlson’s interview with former President Donald Trump on X, two GOP presidential contenders saw a seven-figure bump in their fundraising efforts following the first Republican debate of the 2024 election cycle.

In the 24 hours after the presidential hopefuls left the Fox News stage in Milwaukee on Wednesday night, Ron DeSantis’s campaign raked in more than $1 million in donations, the Florida governor’s campaign manager, James Uthmeier, told Fox News Digital.

“Ron DeSantis showed Wednesday night that he is a proven leader who will deliver results as president, and we are thrilled with the flood of support we have received since his debate victory,” Uthmeier said. “We look forward to building on this momentum in the weeks and months ahead as the governor continues to outwork everyone in this race as he lays out his vision to reverse our nation’s decline and revive the American Dream.”

The other candidate who was able to cash in on his debate performance was Republican rising star, entrepreneur Vivek Ramaswamy, who, according to Fox News Digital, really needed the fundraising boost.

“Ramaswamy’s cash wave was much needed, as his campaign reported raising $19 million through the year’s first half,” the outlet reports. “Ramaswamy, however, had loaned his committee more than $15 million of that amount.”

The nation’s first Millennial candidate for the White House scored $460,000 on debate night, according to the New York Post. On Thursday, Ramaswamy’s campaign raked in another $600,000, bringing his 24-hour haul to more than $1 million in new funds.

The remaining six GOP members who were on the debate stage — former Vice President Mike Pence, South Carolina Sen. Tim Scott, former South Carolina Gov. Nikki Haley, former New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie, former Arkansas Gov. Asa Hutchinson, and North Dakota Gov. Doug Burgum — “have not released post-debate fundraising figures,” according to Fox News Digital, which added, “The Washington Post reported that Haley’s campaign said it raised more in the 24 hours following the debate than any day since she entered, but the campaign did not provide a number.”

The Post, along with FiveThirtyEight and Ipsos, conducted a post-debate poll, and the results tracked with the fundraising numbers.

According to The Post, Republican primary and caucus voters “thought Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis came out on top Wednesday night, with 29 percent of Republican voters who watched the debate saying he performed best.”

“He was nearly matched by former pharmaceutical executive Vivek Ramaswamy,” The Post reports, “with 26 percent saying he performed best.”

Haley was the only other contender to reach double-digit approval, with 15% of Republican viewers saying she took the night.

The Post notes that “things fell off from there for the other candidates.”

“Just 7 percent say former vice president Mike Pence performed best, with 4 percent each saying former New Jersey governor Chris Christie or South Carolina Sen. Tim Scott,” the outlet found. “One percent each say North Dakota Gov. Doug Burgum or former Arkansas governor Asa Hutchinson.”

Melissa Fine


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