Campaign finances show DeSantis isn’t the only one traveling to seek Trump’s favor

Numerous Republicans have make the trek down to Palm Beach recently. Some have spent eye-opening amounts

Eric Garcia
Washington DC
Tuesday 30 April 2024 17:12 BST
Ron DeSantis and Kari Lake seem particularly fond of spending time with the former president
Ron DeSantis and Kari Lake seem particularly fond of spending time with the former president (Getty Images)

Donald Trump recently met with Florida Governor Ron DeSantis, his former rival for the Republican presidential nomination, according to The Washington Post. The governor ended his campaign shortly after he notched a distant second place in the Iowa caucus behind the former president.

But DeSantis is not the only Republican to try to curry favor with Trump recently. Indeed, some have gone as far as to patronize his Mar-a-Lago resort in Palm Beach, Florida — repeatedly. Recently released details about how Republican campaign money is being spent gives a clearer picture on who’s keen to make a good impression on Trump as the 2024 election heats up.

Kari Lake, the presumptive Republican nominee for Arizona’s open US Senate seat, has spent an eye-opening $21,638.08 since the beginning of the 2024 cycle on catering services and facility rental services at Mar-a-Lago. That’s a lot of dinners and hotel rooms. A former news anchor, Lake has consistently repeated Trump’s claims that the 2020 election was stolen. In 2022, she attempted to run for governor and lost to Democrat Katie Hobbs — but has refused to concede and instead filed legal challenges that have been rebuffed.

Lake is not the only true believer to patronize Trump’s estate. Reports that her trips to Mar-a-Lago have become so frequent that even Trump himself is annoyed, however, seem unique to her.

The campaign for Representative Matt Gaetz of Florida, Trump’s most ardent defender, spent $302.81 on a single meal expense at Mar-a-Lago this year. It will surprise few people that he traveled to the former president’s estate.

Meanwhile, the campaign for Representative Greg Steube — who opted to endorse Trump instead of DeSantis — dropped $1,181.17 on travel expenses at the resort.

Fellow Florida Representative Brian Mast had some of the most expenses between his campaign and joint fundraising committee, altogether spending $13,805.45 at the former president’s place in Florida.

Meanwhile, Representative Max Miller of Ohio, who worked in the Trump administration, spent $36,635.03 on catering expenses at Mar-a-Lago.

Similarly, the Blackburn Victory Fund, which helps raise money for Tennessee Senator Marsha Blackburn, spent $7,415.10 at the resort. Blackburn endorsed Trump last year and is running for re-election this year. She is mostly favored to win, having been officially endorsed by Trump last time she ran in 2018 .

The financials also show that in 2023, Bernie Moreno, then a candidate for the Republican Senate seat in Ohio, spent $13,120.88 on catering at Mar-a-Lago in April 2023. A former car dealer, Moreno was the only Republican Senate candidate in the race against Democratic incumbent Senator Sherrod Brown to patronize Mar-a-Lago. In December, Trump endorsed Moreno and last month, Moreno won the nomination.

The campaign for Jim Marchant, a failed candidate for Nevada secretary of state, spent $58,396.78 at the resort. Marchant is currently running for the Republican nomination to challenge Democratic incumbent Senator Jacky Rosen. So far, Trump has not endorsed any candidate in the race.

Unsurprisingly, Trump’s own presidential campaign has spent substantially at Mar-a-Lago — a total of $193,349.69, in fact — while the Trump Save America Joint Fundraising Committee spent $412,412.61 at the resort.

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