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Ron DeSantis plans Utah fundraiser with GOP megadonors, signaling possible presidential run

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Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis speaks in the course of the welcome segment of the Conservative Political Motion Conference (CPAC) in Orlando, Florida, February 26, 2021.

Joe Skipper | Reuters

Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis is planning a personal fundraiser in Utah later this month that is anticipated to attract a number of the country’s wealthiest Republican donors as he signals a possible run for president in 2024.

DeSantis is ready to move to Utah the week of July 18 for the private gathering, in response to people aware of the matter. Many asked to not be identified since the campaign is attempting to keep the private event from getting an excessive amount of public attention.

Though DeSantis is coming to Utah to boost money for his 2022 gubernatorial reelection campaign, fundraisers held in far-flung states like Utah, which is greater than 2,000 miles from his home state, often suggest national aspirations.

The state is understood to be a GOP stronghold; Utah voters have picked a Republican for president in each of the past six elections. Former President Donald Trump beat Joe Biden within the state by 20 percentage points in 2020.

Carson Jorgensen, chairman of the Utah Republican Party, said the state party is not co-hosting the event, but it would likely send someone to what’s expected to incorporate breakfast and lunch with DeSantis. He noted the event is privately hosted and closed to the press.

“We just wish to see more events done within the state supporting great candidates across the country,” Jorgensen said in a text message. He didn’t confirm a date of the gathering or who’s going to be hosting DeSantis.

DeSantis spokeswoman Lindsey Curnutte would not confirm any details, saying the campaign doesn’t “discuss private fundraising events with members of the press.”

DeSantis hasn’t declared his candidacy for president, but he also hasn’t ruled it out. In a recent interview on Fox News, he didn’t nix the concept of running for president — even when it meant he needed to first beat Trump within the Republican primary.

“Nice try, man” DeSantis coyly replied in an interview with Fox News last month, declining to reply when asked whether he would get right into a primary fight with Trump in a run for the White House.

An individual helping organize the fundraiser this month said many donors from across the country have been invited and can attend the gathering in Utah, but they are attempting to maintain Trump from taking notice. Invites have been sent verbally, as a substitute of by email, to limit any paper trail, this person said. Donors have been told that the meetings with DeSantis in Utah is prone to start early within the day on July 19.

The opposite reason DeSantis is keeping the event under the radar, this person added, is to avoid looking like he’s preparing to tackle Trump within the 2024 Republican primary and upsetting the previous president’s ire.

An Emerson College poll conducted last month shows Trump as a transparent favorite over every other possible contenders for the 2024 Republican nomination. The poll showed him with 55% of support from voters if he were to run for the Republican nomination, with DeSantis a distant second with 20%.

DeSantis has change into a fan favorite of most GOP megadonors, with a lot of them helping him raise greater than $100 million for his 2022 run for reelection in Florida and searching for alternatives to be their Republican nominee for president in 2024. Axios reported that an outdoor group is gathering over 1 million names of DeSantis supporters in case the Florida governor finally ends up running for president.

In a recent interview on Newsmax, Trump said he gets together with DeSantis and didn’t rule out having the Florida governor be his running mate if the previous president ran again for the White House in 2024. Trump hasn’t ruled out running for president again after losing to Biden two years ago.

While Trump won Utah in 2020, DeSantis has allies in that state and previously traveled there as governor.

DeSantis spoke in Utah last 12 months in front of the American Legislative Exchange Council. His remarks included mocking the Center for Disease Control and Prevention encouraging those vaccinated from Covid-19 to wear a mask in states where the coronavirus was spreading.

CNBC Politics

Read more of CNBC’s politics coverage:

DeSantis’ reelection campaign has raised greater than $25,000 from Utah donors within the 2022 election cycle, in response to Florida state records. Friends of Ron DeSantis, the political motion committee backing DeSantis, has brought in over $430,000 from donors inside the state.

Nomi Health is one among DeSantis’ backers in Utah. The health-care company donated $100,000 to the Friends of Ron DeSantis PAC last 12 months after it reportedly received nearly $50 million in no-bid Covid-related work from the governor’s administration, in response to campaign finance records.

Since then, one other $50,000 got here from Nomi Health in June.

Nomi’s Health CEO, Mark Newman, and the corporate didn’t respond when asked in the event that they can be attending or co-hosting the DeSantis meeting in Utah.

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