The Florida governor, Ron DeSantis, has raised more than $20 million in campaign donations in the third quarter of 2023, according to his latest filing with the state’s Division of Elections. This impressive sum puts him second only to former president Donald Trump, who raked in $35 million in the same period.
DeSantis, who is widely seen as a potential contender for the 2024 Republican presidential nomination, has been riding a wave of popularity among conservatives for his staunch opposition to Covid-19 mandates and his support for election integrity laws. He has also been a vocal critic of the Biden administration’s policies on immigration, energy and foreign affairs.
DeSantis’ fundraising prowess reflects his growing national profile and his appeal to the Republican base. He has received donations from all 50 states and from prominent figures such as casino magnate Sheldon Adelson, tech entrepreneur Peter Thiel and Fox News host Sean Hannity. He has also benefited from the backing of Trump, who has praised him as a “great governor” and a “fighter”.
DeSantis’ campaign war chest dwarfs that of his Democratic rivals, who have struggled to gain traction in the race.
Controversial driver’s licence restrictions
DeSantis also faced backlash on Thursday for a list his administration published of driver’s licences no longer accepted in the state of Florida.
The announcement comes in the wake of a suite of laws that went into effect in Florida on July 1, furthering DeSantis’s right-wing priorities.
They included a measure to remove permitting requirements for the concealed carry of firearms and restrictions on teaching about gender identity and sexual orientation in school.
But Thursday’s press release highlighted one law in particular, invalidating within Florida out-of-state driver’s licences that were issued to undocumented immigrants.
States like Vermont, Connecticut, Delaware, Hawaii and Rhode Island offer driver’s licences specifically designed for undocumented immigrants, which indicate that they are not for federal identification and can be used for driving only.
The law was among the latest salvos in DeSantis’s aggressive immigration stance. In Thursday’s press release, he touted the policy as a crackdown on illegal immigration, attacking Democratic President Joe Biden for allowing a “border crisis” to unfold.
“Someone who is in our country illegally and has violated our laws should not possess a government-issued ID which allows them access to state-funded services and other privileges afforded to lawful residents,” DeSantis said in the release.
The policy, however, received criticism from the Mexican government, which said the law could be used for racial profiling among motorists and other individuals.
“Criminalization is not the way to solve the issue of undocumented immigration,” Mexico said on Saturday.