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DeSantis helps New Hampshire Republicans set new fundraising record ahead of potential presidential campaign

MANCHESTER, N.H. – It appears that Republican Gov. Ron DeSantis of Florida is helping the New Hampshire GOP bring in the bucks.

New Hampshire state party chairman Chris Ager told Fox News that Friday night’s Amos Tuck fundraising dinner – which will be headlined by DeSantis  – will bring in over $250,000, which Ager says is a “record.”

Ager noted that over 500 people will be in the audience at the event at a hotel in downtown Manchester, adding that “we had to close ticket sales earlier this week at 520 people.”

The trip is DeSantis’ first this cycle to New Hampshire, the state that holds the first primary and second contest overall in the GOP presidential nominating calendar. The popular conservative governor from Florida has already stopped this year in Iowa (which holds caucuses kicking off the Republican schedule) and Nevada (which holds the fourth contest) and next week visits South Carolina (which votes third).

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Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis speaks to Iowa voters on March 10, 2023 in Des Moines, Iowa. 

Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis speaks to Iowa voters on March 10, 2023 in Des Moines, Iowa.  (Scott Olson/Getty Images)

While DeSantis remains on the 2024 sidelines, he’s expected to launch a presidential campaign sometime after the end of Florida’s legislative session, which concludes next month. But behind the scenes, he’s already made plenty of moves toward launching a campaign, including beefing up staff in Tallahassee.

The dinner is the state Republican Party’s largest annual fundraising gala. It’s named after Amos Tuck, who is considered by many to have founded the Republican Party in the 1850s in Exeter, New Hampshire. Exeter, along with Ripon, Wisconsin, and Jackson, Michigan, claim to be the birthplace of the GOP.

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Ahead of his stop in the Granite State, longtime New Hampshire Democratic Party chair Ray Buckley charged that “Ron DeSantis is bringing his failed ‘Florida Blueprint’ to our state for the first time. The reality is that the record DeSantis takes pride in touting is just the most extreme parts of the MAGA agenda.”

The trip comes during a busy few days for DeSantis. The Florida governor headlined two Republican Party functions in Ohio on Thursday. And on Friday, before heading to New Hampshire, he’ll be in Lynchburg, Virginia, where he’ll give the keynote address at Liberty University’s convocation ceremonies. He’ll also deliver a speech, remotely, at the National Rifle Association’s annual convention, which is being held this year in Indianapolis, Indiana.

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But DeSantis is facing some criticism — from allies of former President Donald Trump and others — for being outside of Florida as a massive rainstorm caused severe flooding in Fort Lauderdale and other parts of Broward County, in the southeastern corner of the Sunshine State. The monumental flooding shut down Fort Lauderdale’s busy airport, which re-opened Friday morning.

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DeSantis issued a state-of-emergency declaration for Broward County on Thursday.

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