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DeSantis sets new fundraising record at New Hampshire event

By Sarah May
|
April 16, 2023

Despite recent polls suggesting that he is struggling when it comes to hypothetical matchups against former President Donald Trump, Republican Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis on Friday headlined what was reportedly a record-setting fundraiser for the GOP in a key primary state, as the Daily Wire reports.

DeSantis addressed the assembled audience at the New Hampshire Republican Party's Amos Tuck fundraising dinner, and in doing so, helped party officials rake in a staggering sum that exceeded their most optimistic early projections.

Massive success

According to Florida's Voice the event raised a whopping $382,000, despite initially being tipped to bring in somewhere in the neighborhood of $250,000.

New Hampshire GOP Chairman Chris Agler told NH Journal that those figures catapulted the evening to the status of being the “[l]argest fundraiser in the history of the NHGOP,” and he noted that “[t]icket sales were halted earlier this week after we exceeded planned capacity.”

Ager explained that the original goal was to sell 500 seats to the event, and ticket sales went well beyond that target, and whereas in the past, activist groups were given complimentary tickets, entry this time around cost $150 per person, and the 100 available VIP tickets at the $500 level also sold out.

Prior to the event, Ager noted, “[t]here's high anticipation from our activist base to hear directly from the governor. And we were very pleased that he accepted our invitation.”

Opposition takes aim

The success DeSantis had in drawing a record-breaking crowd to the event came despite rumors in the media that the tickets to the dinner were not selling very well and that there was insufficient interest among Republicans in the state.

Left-leaning journalist Tara Palmieri asserted that sources told her that ticket sales had been disappointingly slow and that the event's organizers were “underwhelmed by the interest in an event they'd hoped would sell out,” NH Journal reported.

In another strategy designed to tamp down enthusiasm about DeSantis' visit, Fox News viewers in New Hampshire saw an ad on Friday that referenced a rumor that the governor once ate pudding with his fingers and suggested that he wants to cut Social Security and Medicare.

However, the outlet later noted that those efforts were likely coming from allies of the Trump campaign, who've been working the press hard with stories of DeSantis' alleged shortcomings on the campaign trail,” the Daily Wire noted.

Speech interrupted

In addition to remarks from the governor, the packed house at the event venue were also treated to a bit of drama in the form of two women who decided to rush the stage in protest of his appearance, as the New York Post noted.

The pair were seen trying to unroll a banner that read, “Ron DeSantis: Loves Israel, Hates Jews,” while also shouting, “Jews against DeSantis! Jews against DeSantis!” WATCH:

Security staff quickly snapped into action and removed the protestors from the dais, allowing DeSantis to resume his speech.

DeSantis undeterred

The governor, for his part, took the demonstrators' interruption in stride, saying, “Yeah, thank you,” to the security personnel who swept the ladies out of sight, as Florida's Voice further noted.

“You got to have a little spice in the speech right?” DeSantis jokingly said of the incident.

DeSantis mused, “Why would you want to pay for the ticket to get in just to do that? I don't know, but different strokes for different folks.”

His appearance at the Amos Tuck dinner was DeSantis' first visit to New Hampshire in what most observers believe will be his campaign for the 2024 GOP nomination, and while Trump may be surging in the polls at present, the impressive turnout for the speech will perhaps bolster the governor's confidence as he moves ahead toward a possible announcement.