Nikki Haley Appears To Beat Ron DeSantis On This One Key Metric

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Former South Carolina Gov. Nikki Haley didn’t beat Ron DeSantis in overall fundraising for the third quarter, but she surpassed him in one key metric that underscores the Florida governor’s weakening position in the GOP presidential primary.

Haley raised $11 million in the third quarter, which includes $9.1 million in cash on hand she can spend in the primary, her campaign announced Monday. That’s more than the $5 million that DeSantis has on hand, according to figures his campaign released last week that show an overall $15 million haul between July and September.

The numbers reinforce the Florida governor’s steady slide in the polls since entering the race in May, while Haley, who is still polling in single digits nationally, seems to have benefitted from her performances in the first two debates. DeSantis’ cash situation has suffered as a result: He was forced to shrink his staff over the summer and focus his campaign operation mainly on Iowa, the first state to vote in the GOP primary.

DeSantis was down from the $20 million he raised in the second quarter, while Haley brought in $7.3 million during the same period.

Neither candidate comes close to the fundraising advantage enjoyed by Trump. Former president Trump claims to have raised $45.5 in the last quarter. Of that, Trump’s campaign says it has $36 million available to spend on the primary.

None of the GOP candidates has filed their Q3 disclosures with the Federal Elections Commission ahead of the Oct. 15 deadline, meaning the numbers released by their campaigns can’t be checked yet against their official filings.

Haley likely has more to spend now because she did better than DeSantis with small-dollar donors — an area of strength for Trump — while DeSantis benefitted early on with high rollers willing to write him one big check. Haley’s campaign said that it had seen an “explosion of donor interest,” which resulted to 40,000 new donors in the third quarter. “Nikki is emerging as the candidate who can move America beyond the chaos and drama of the past and present, and we have the resources we need to do it.”

DeSantis’ campaign didn’t immediately respond to a request for comment.

Candidates can accept $3,300 per person for the primary and $3,300 for the general election all at once, but they can’t spend that general election money now.

Super PACs supporting both Haley and DeSantis have yet to release their totals. Never Back Down (the super PAC supporting DeSantis) accepted $82.5 Million that DeSantis held in a Florida Political Committee, money leftover from his 2022 re-election campaign as governor. The New York Times reported early in August that Never Back Down already spent $34 million for campaign expenses including voter outreach and consultant fees, but still had $97 million available — more than super PACs backing Trump. Tim Scott (R – S.C.), who had the most cash on hand at the end of the quarter, has not yet announced his total. Scott raised $5.8m last quarter but had still $21m cash on hand, largely due to money he raised while a senator.