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DeSantis helps donors: Trump’s current lead is a high sugar in the polls

According to those two attendees, Team DeSantis pointed to Florida as a take-home winner, with its large share of delegates only distributed to whoever finishes first in the primary. Depending on the state’s outcome, there could be a clear primary winner or a contested convention where candidates had to engage in a delegate fight. They argued that DeSantis’ fundraising strength — a super PAC backing his candidacy once boasted of raising some $30 million — would ensure the governor would have the financial wherewithal to stay in the running through the first nominating states and in later delegate-rich contests, like Florida.

If DeSantis travels to Florida, it could set the stage for a dramatic showdown with Trump, another resident of the state.

The three-day retreat — which began Wednesday, just hours before DeSantis launched his campaign — is dubbed by organizers “Ron-o-Rama.” The event drew an array of Republican Party consolidators, who spent much of Thursday contacting other donors by phone asking for contributions. Some of the governor’s closest allies also attend, including former Nevada Attorney General Adam Laxalt, who helps oversee the pro-DeSantis super PAC.

Attendees crammed into the hotel on Wednesday to listen to DeSantis’ Twitter event with Musk and David Sacks, a Silicon Valley investor and governor supporter. Many of them were spotted in the hallways sporting “DeSantis for President” swag.

The governor made a personal appearance at the retreat Thursday, hanging out with donors and making calls himself.

The DeSantis team tried to distract from the Twitter snafu by highlighting the roughly $1 million donations they say they received within an hour of its launch. In the coming days, his team hopes to announce a substantial fundraiser, with some of the money raised at the Miami line-up meeting for dollars.

Organizers are using the event to highlight the governor’s support for former Trump supporters. Among the attendees is Hossein Khorram, a major Trump donor who helped lead the former president’s fundraising efforts during the 2020 campaign.

Khorram, a Washington state-based real estate developer, said he recently had dinner with DeSantis and came away impressed. He said he made the “difficult” decision to defect to the governor after concluding he would have an easier path to victory in the general election.

“I am heartbroken,” he said, “to walk away from President Trump.”

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