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Political Notebook

DeSantis campaign raises $8.2m in first day as he attacks Trump for ‘going left’

Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis, seen here recently in New Hampshire, announced his presidential run on Wednesday.John Tully/The Washington Post

MIAMI — Ron DeSantis presidential campaign raised a formidable $8.2 million in its first 24 hours, a spokeswoman said, a show of force as the Florida governor offered some of his most direct attacks yet on his chief rival for the GOP nomination, Donald Trump.

The figure includes online donations as well as money raised by around 100 donors who converged on the Four Seasons in Miami starting Wednesday evening — as DeSantis launched his campaign in a live Twitter discussion that quickly went haywire. Despite the rocky start, donors said the mood was upbeat on Thursday as they worked to bolster one of DeSantis’s advantages heading into 2024: Money.


The first-day fund-raising haul is a welcome boost for a candidate hoping to close a significant polling gap with Trump, the current leader in public surveys of the GOP race. Trump’s campaign said it raised more than $9.5 million in the first quarter after launching, and about $14.5 million in the first three months of this year. The campaign of another 2024 contender, Senator Tim Scott, Republican of South Carolina, recently said it raised $2 million in the first 24 hours.

‘’It is really going well. I am surprised,’’ said Bob Grand, one of the donors who spent Thursday in Miami reaching out to his contacts for contributions to DeSantis. ‘’I have been making calls and texts most of the day, and everyone I have called has said, ‘I just want an alternative to Trump.’’' He added, ‘’I would have assumed that there would have been people who told me they were for Trump.’’

Spokespeople for DeSantis did not immediately say how the $8.2 million broke down between online donations and the fundraising event in Miami. One attendee at the donor event with knowledge of the effort said early in the evening that the group in Miami had raised more than $4 million for the primary as well as the general election, but emphasized they were still going.


A pro-DeSantis super PAC has separately raised tens of millions of dollars and is expected to seek to redeploy the more than $80 million left over from DeSantis reelection campaign last year. Campaign contributions, unlike super PAC donations, are capped. A representative for DeSantis said the $8.2 million does not include donations to a ‘’Draft DeSantis’' fund that the super PAC has been raising for transfer to the campaign.

The fund-raising blitz played out as DeSantis showed a new willingness to hit back at Trump in a slew of interviews following his launch, following months of veiled jabs.

‘’Well, obviously he’s attacking me from the left,’’ the Republican governor told a Tennessee radio station.

Trump, meanwhile, continued to ridicule DeSantis’s glitchy campaign launch. ‘’I don’t know that you can recover from that,’’ he told reporters on Thursday as he played golf at his course in Northern Virginia. A spokesman for the pro-Trump super PAC MAGA Inc., Alex Pfeiffer, said in a statement that ‘’DeSantis was still not able to raise enough money to make up for his botched campaign launch.’’

Washington Post

Texas House set to vote on impeachment of AG

The Texas House plans to vote on the impeachment of Attorney General Ken Paxton at 1 p.m. on Saturday, according to a memo released Friday by House Speaker Dade Phelan’s office.

The vote could lead to a state Senate trial and potentially the ouster of Paxton, one of the fiercest opponents of the Biden administration and an architect of conservative Texas policies on cultural issues adopted by other red states.


A Republican-led House investigative committee this week unanimously recommended impeaching Paxton on 20 articles, including bribery, unfitness for office and abuse of public trust. The committee said it began investigating Paxton in March, after he requested $3.3 million in taxpayer funds to end a lawsuit by former staffers who accused him of retaliation.

Washington Post

In strategy to end antisemitism Boebert sees attack on conservatives

President Biden on Thursday released the country’s first national strategy for combating antisemitism, a landmark lauded by Jewish and anti-hate groups as progress toward addressing the increasing instances of violence and bias toward Jewish people in the United States.

But Representative Lauren Boebert, Republican of Colorado, saw the effort as an attack on those of her political persuasion. ‘’When they say stuff like this, they mean they want to go after conservatives,’’ she tweeted. ‘’Their tactics are straight out of the USSR’s playbook.’’

Her comments quickly attracted criticism from detractors who accuse her of conflating a straightforward campaign against antisemitism with an assault on the right — and by implication, equating conservatives with antisemites

‘’So you agree? You think you’re antisemitic?’’ Representative Sara Jacobs, Democrat of California, tweeted in a popular meme format from the teen comedy ‘’Mean Girls.’’

In response to questions about her tweet, Boebert’s office provided a statement equating the anti-hate effort with censorship of free speech and adding that she does not condone antisemitism.


‘’This is the latest version of this administration’s failed ‘Ministry of Truth,’’' Boebert said in the statement. ‘’The First Amendment guarantees a marketplace of ideas where truth, beauty, and justice ultimately win out.’’

Deputy White House press secretary Andrew Bates said Boebert was ‘’mistaken.’’ He added that Biden’s push against hate defied politics and was rooted in longstanding American values.

‘’If anyone finds opposition to hate threatening, they need to look inward,’’ Bates said in a statement. ‘’Congresswoman Boebert should also Google the Soviet Union’s long, repulsive history of antisemitism. She might find a result for Joe Biden, who at the time decried antisemitic acts by Soviet communists as ‘shameful.’’'

Boebert has a history of controversial and inflammatory statements. In February, she suggested that God used her to stand up to House Speaker Kevin McCarthy, Republican of California, whom she indirectly referred to as one of her ‘’demons,’’ while speaking at a women’s conference at a Dallas church.

Biden on Thursday announced the four-pillar strategy to address hate in a video address, outlining a plan that included over 100 steps for the government to take. The goals included increasing awareness and understanding of antisemitism, ramping upsecurity for Jewish communities, reversing the normalization of discrimination, and improving on collective efforts to counterhate.

‘’In the past several years, hate has been given too much oxygen, fueling a record rise in antisemitism,’’ Biden said. ‘’It’s simply wrong. It’s not only wrong, it’s immoral, it’s unacceptable. It’s on all of us to stop it.’’


The Anti-Defamation League, a group dedicated to fighting anti-Jewish hatred, counted 3,697 antisemitic incidents last year, a 36 percent increase from the previous year and the highest figure since it began keeping records in 1979.

Representative Jared Moskowitz, Democrat of Florida, who is Jewish, has previously said publicly that he has been bombarded with antisemitic messages on Twitter and has called for the platform to beef up its moderation process.

On Friday, he applauded the administration’s announcement as ‘’tremendously important,’’ saying it should be welcomed by all Americans no matter their political beliefs.

‘’No one is interested in going after conservatives — that’s ridiculous,’’ Moskowitz said. ‘’We’re going after Nazis. And if the fact is that the majority of Nazis are voting for conservatives, then perhaps the better question is: why? Why are a majority of Nazis voting for conservatives? That’s a question that they should ask themselves, perhaps.’’

Washington Post