Ron DeSantis Spent at Least $2,263 Per Vote in Doomed Presidential Bid

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Ron DeSantis has dropped out of the Republican primary race after spending millions on his campaign without receiving many votes, having only stood in one caucus.

The Florida governor announced on Sunday he was dropping out of the 2024 Republican presidential race and said he was backing frontrunner Donald Trump.

In a video posted on X, formerly Twitter, on January 21, DeSantis said: “I am today suspending my campaign.”

“It’s clear to me that a majority of Republican primary voters wanna give Donald Trump another chance,” he added.

Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis speaks to supporters at LaBelle Winery on January 17, 2024 in Rockingham County, New Hampshire. DeSantis dropped out of the GOP race after spending millions on his campaign.
Photo by Brandon Bell/Getty Images

DeSantis said Trump “has my endorsement because we can’t go back to the old Republican guard of yesteryear” and claimed Nikki Haley, now the former president’s chief rival for the Republican nomination, represents “a repackaged form of warmed over corporatism.”

The GOP candidate had raised millions for both his presidential campaign and for a federal super PAC, Never Back Down, that was supporting his campaign.

From January 1, 2023, to June 30, 2023, Never Back Down spent some $34 million of the $130 million it had raised, according to FEC filing data.

From May 15, 2023 to September 30, 2023, his presidential campaign raised over $31 million and spent almost $19 million, FEC data shows.

DeSantis dropped out of the race days after the Iowa caucus, where he came second to Trump with 21.2 percent of the vote, or 23,420 votes.

Based on the combined reported spending by DeSantis’ campaign and Never Back Down of $53 million, this means DeSantis spent at least $2,263 on each vote cast for him. The true figure is likely to be higher, though, given the FEC data only covers a four-month period of DeSantis’ spending.

Newsweek contacted representatives for DeSantis by email to comment on this story.

This means DeSantis’ spending to lose the primary campaign was huge in comparison to other primary candidates in history.

From November 2019 to February 2020, Mike Bloomberg, the multibillionaire who self-funded his presidential bid, spent more than $409 million on his campaign, according to The Washington Post. Ahead of the Democratic primaries in California in March 2020, he spent $54,439,347 in the state, according to Cal Matters. He went on to receive 701,803 votes, meaning he spent some $77.60 per vote in California.

Meanwhile, Mitt Romney’s campaign spent $113.6 million in the 2008 Republican primary, as per ABC News. But according to polling data aggregator RealClearPolitics, he won 4,699,788 votes, meaning he spent $24.17 per vote.

With DeSantis out of the race, Trump’s main challenger is former South Carolina Governor Haley. According to polling aggregator FiveThirtyEight, Haley is backed by 12.3 percent of Republican primary voters while Trump is ahead with 66.2 percent. The polls haven’t been updated to reflect the impact of DeSantis leaving the contest