Ron DeSantis' Hamptons Fundraisers Flop as Trump and Kennedy Jr. Steal the Show

  • by:
  • Source: Wayne Dupree
  • 07/31/2023
According to sources, Ron DeSantis cancelled two Hamptons fundraisers last weekend due to a lack of interest, while rival Donald Trump and challenger Robert F. Kennedy Jr. collected enormous sums of money. 

The story of the three fundraisers reveals that DeSantis' chances of winning the Republican nomination are dwindling as RFK Jr. gains ground and Trump continues to lead the GOP field. This past weekend destroyed DeSantis' campaign, according to a political fundraiser.

Caroline Wren, a longtime GOP fundraiser, continued, "I don't know anyone who went." "Ron DeSantis did a better job of raising money this past weekend in the Hamptons than George Santos could have."


DeSantis had reduced the cost to attend the fundraiser on July 20 in Southampton in half, from $6,600 per person to $3,300, as On The Money had previously reported.

The event was heavily advertised and heavily discounted, and New York Republican groups sent email blasts the day before the event, but according to a source with knowledge of the campaign, attendance was underwhelming. 

One source pointed the finger at failed congressional candidate Chele Farley, who advertised herself as the coordinator of DeSantis' cocktail reception.

A significant donor told On The Money, "She cheapened the event by sending it out to everyone on her email list... she scared people away." Donors don't want to attend a cocktail reception that has thousands of people expecting them.

Ken Griffin and Stephen Schwarzman, two wealthy backers, abstained completely. 

Even worse, a source with knowledge told On The Money that the campaign scrapped plans for two additional events because "they couldn't find hosts." 

One source claimed, "The DeSantis experiment is dead." Because they don't see any return on their investment, donors aren't attending his events.

The amount that DeSantis' campaign withheld from the public regarding the Florida governor's foray into New York.

Reps for DeSantis did not respond to a request for comment from On The Money.

DeSantis had trouble drawing attention, but RFK Jr., a Democratic presidential candidate, was the talk of the East End.

A few weeks prior to the event, the maximum number of attendees for his Sag Harbor fundraiser, hosted by investment banker Omeed Malik at the upscale eatery Bilboquet, had been reached. To accommodate the overwhelmingly high demand, the campaign decided to schedule a second event in Southampton for earlier that day.

All attendees contributed the maximum of $6,600 each, which is the limit for a person to give to a presidential campaign. This enabled RFK Jr. to raise the most money in a single day.

The topics of discussion at dinner included cryptocurrency, foreign policy, and RFK Jr.'s testimony before Congress last week. Kennedy raised $5 million from a number of donors in the days following his testimony, On The Money has learned.

According to a source, RFK Jr. is already organizing a new fundraising event for the following week in New York following his success in the Hamptons.


Trump, on the other hand, avoided his home state but made a ton of money over the weekend in a small town in North Carolina. The former president raised more than $2 million, per various sources. Instead of his campaign, Trump's joint fundraising committee hosted the event. Donors can only give a candidate a maximum of $6,600, but they can give much more to the candidate's PAC.

It doesn't look good for DeSantis' once-promising bid for the White House that the former president is still receiving support, especially given how far ahead he is in the polls.

They're beginning to consider alternative locations, Wren said. "Some are turning to RFK Jr., some are looking at [South Carolina Senator] Tim Scott, and some in the GOP are coming home to Trump."

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