Florida governor Ron DeSantis has outraised his political opponent, Charlie Crist, 8-1. DeSantis is now using his funds to outspend Crist over the airwaves.
As of Oct. 10, DeSantis had raised $187 million, according to followthemoney.org, a website affiliated with OpenSecrets that keeps track of campaign finance records. The same site shows Crist has raised $23.9 million.
DeSantis broke a record for most money raised by a candidate in a statewide race that was not self-funded.
A report by the Wesleyan Media Project showed that between Sept. 5-18, DeSantis had already spent $470,000 in ads on Google and Facebook compared to Crist, who had spent $45,000. The same report showed Crist posting 881 digital advertisements, while DeSantis had lapped his opponent by more than 13,000.
Dr. Kathryn DePaulo-Gould, a political science professor at Florida International University who has run judicial campaigns in Florida, said that money is a good indicator of who has a better chance of winning an election.
But it’s not a sure thing, DePaulo-Gould said. “Just because you have a lot more money doesn’t mean you win. And we have all kinds of different examples of governor’s races, especially statewide races, where people come in, spend a lot of their own money and don’t win,” she said.
As recently as 2020, Rep. Carlos Gimenez beat incumbent Rep. Debbie Mucarsel-Powell for a congressional seat in Florida when Mucarsel-Powell had out-raised Gimenez $6.8 million to $1.6 million.
Still, Crist faces an uphill battle. With so much money in the bank, DeSantis’ media spending is expected to accelerate as election day approaches.
“You work backwards from election day. So you see how much money a campaign is going to have,” said DePaulo-Gould. “And you budget and you plan your campaign strategy whether it’s buying ads, or direct mail pieces, or you know, social media”.
A recent Mason-Dixon poll of 800 people who are likely to vote in Florida showed DeSantis with a substantial edge over Crist, 52% to 41%. The margin of error in the poll was 4%.
DeSantis also may benefit from a frequent political trend. The party in power in Washington often does poorly in midterm elections, DePaulo-Gould said.
“This is going to be a good Republican year just because of the historical context of what is happening,” DePaulo-Gould said. “So Republicans are the party out of the White House. Traditionally, in those kinds of midterm elections, the party out of the White House does very well.”
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