In Miami, DeSantis supporters get campaign intel on how governor plans to beat Trump

Ana Ceballos and Emily L. Mahoney, Miami Herald on

Published in Political News

MIAMI — A day after Ron DeSantis unveiled his presidential campaign, his top pollster met Thursday with a group of fundraisers at a Miami luxury hotel to outline exactly how they plan to knock down former President Donald Trump in the race for the GOP nomination.

The early morning presentation at the Four Seasons Hotel Miami was led by pollster Ryan Tyson and campaign staff. The team ran through data on how they could win the party’s nomination: namely, winning over Republican voters looking for an alternative to Trump and competing fiercely in the earliest primaries.

The briefing was closed to reporters, but multiple fundraisers remarked afterward that they left feeling convinced that it could be done.

Those in attendance included a mixture of political strategists and lobbyists, wealthy health care executives and developers, as well as some Florida politicians. The crowd included contingents from key early states like Nevada, as well as big-state heavyweights like California and Texas.

In the early afternoon, DeSantis popped into the room to greet the group and shake hands. The Republican governor is expected to make another appearance in the evening at a reception.

“I think people are excited. The governor came through and spoke to everybody. We’re excited about being here and excited about helping and dialing our friends,” said state House Speaker Paul Renner, a Palm Coast Republican who made some phone calls to raise money for the campaign.


Throughout the morning and the early afternoon, those attending the DeSantis event were seen trickling in and out of the hotel lobby, making fundraising calls to donors.

Roy Bailey, a prominent Texas donor who served as former President Donald Trump’s National Finance Committee co-chairperson in 2016, strolled through the lobby telling the person on the other end of the phone: “I’m in Miami with the next president of the United States.”

Some of the fundraisers wore hats and white fleeces with DeSantis’ new campaign logo.

Among those spotted in attendance were Jay Zeidman, a former aide to President George W. Bush; Fred Whitaker, the Orange County Republican Party chairperson from California; Richard Porter, a Republican National Committeeman from Illinois; former state Sen. Lizbeth Benacquisto and Scott Wagner, vice chairperson of the South Florida Water Management District.


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