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Donald Trump’s campaign urges Ron DeSantis donors to 'demonstrate' loyalty to former president

Former President Donald Trump’s 2024 campaign is touting their candidate’s surging poll numbers in the latest Republican nomination surveys in an effort to sway GOP donors away from Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis.

The Trump campaign, in an email sent earlier this week to DeSantis donors and obtained by Fox News, emphasizes that “now is the time to demonstrate your support and join Team 47 early.” 

“The two things the memo illustrates are the President’s huge numbers and Governor Ron DeSantis’ collapsing numbers,” the Trump campaign wrote in the memo. 

Trump, who launched his third straight White House campaign in November, has seen his status as the current front-runner in the 2024 GOP nomination race further cemented in recent weeks, thanks to a rise in his poll numbers as Republicans rallied around Trump as he became the first former president in American history to be indicted. 

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Former President Donald Trump speaks at his Mar-a-Lago estate Tuesday, April 4, 2023, in Palm Beach, Fla., after being arraigned earlier in the day in New York City. (AP Photo/Evan Vucci)

Former President Donald Trump speaks at his Mar-a-Lago estate Tuesday, April 4, 2023, in Palm Beach, Fla., after being arraigned earlier in the day in New York City. (AP Photo/Evan Vucci) (AP )

Trump’s lead over DeSantis — who remains in the 2024 sidelines but is expected to launch a presidential campaign following the conclusion later this spring of Florida’s legislative session — has increased in latest Republican primary polls, with the rest of the emerging field of GOP contenders in the mid to low single digits.

The email, which was first reported by Politico, links to a donation page and to a memo written by Trump campaign pollster John McLaughlin, which spotlights recent surveys indicating the former president’s widening double-digit leads over DeSantis nationally and in New Hampshire, which holds the second contest in the GOP nominating calendar.

Trump was arraigned Tuesday for allegedly falsifying business records related to hush money payments to adult film actress Stormy Daniels in 2016 to keep her quiet ahead of that year’s presidential election. Stormy claimed she had sexual encounters years earlier with Trump. The former president denies sleeping with Daniels and denies falsifying business records to conceal the payment.

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But Trump has cashed in on the legal controversy, with his campaign touting on Wednesday that they’ve hauled in over $12 million in fundraising since news of the indictment broke the evening of March 30.

The former president and his allies in recent weeks have increased their attacks on DeSantis, and the memo is the latest evidence that Trump and his inner political circle view Florida’s two-term conservative governor as their greatest threat in the 2024 nomination race.

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)

The governor saw his popularity soar among conservatives across the country over the past three years due to his forceful pushback against coronavirus pandemic restrictions and his aggressive actions as a culture warrior going after the media, corporations and teachers’ unions. 

DeSantis exhibited his fundraising prowess last year, as he hauled in more than $217 million for his gubernatorial re-election bid, which he won by 19 points. The money he raised set a record for a gubernatorial candidate in the U.S. DeSantis had nearly $90 million in his state political committee as of a month ago, funds that could be transferred to a separate group supporting a White House bid.

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Some of the top Republican mega-donors supported DeSantis’ 2022 re-election. The Florida governor in February held a donor retreat that included a number of top contributors who in the past backed Trump. And DeSantis received a very warm reception as he addressed and mingled with leading conservative mega-donors who attended a Club for Growth retreat in Palm Beach, Florida a month ago.

Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis, left, and former President Donald Trump

Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis, left, and former President Donald Trump (Paul Hennessy/SOPA Images/LightRocket via Getty Images // Win McNamee/Getty Images)

Meanwhile, Never Back Down, a recently-formed super PAC that’s expected to serve as the main outside political group supporting an expected DeSantis 2024 presidential campaign, announced earlier this week that it hauled in $30 million in fundraising since launching on March 9.

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“Even though Gov. DeSantis has not announced his candidacy, most polling consistently shows he would beat Joe Biden next year, and Donald Trump would lose again. That’s why Democrats and the liberal media are doing everything they can to make Trump the nominee,” Never Back Down communications director Erin Perrine told Fox News.

“Republicans who want to win are realizing the primary is a two man race and the choice is between taking back the White House and going home empty handed,” Perrine emphasized.

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