Ron DeSantis’ Trip to OC Shows GOP’s Kingmaker Power in a Deep Blue State

California has the delegates and early primary to draw candidates. Orange County has big Republican donors.

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With speculations over his 2024 political aspirations continuing to mount, Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis is headed to Orange County. And it shouldn’t come as a major shock.

DeSantis is slated to appear at a reception and dinner hosted by the Republican Party of Orange County on March 5 — on the heels of multiple fundraisers he is headlining for county Republican parties in Texas and after a visit earlier that day to the Reagan Library in Simi Valley.

DeSantis hasn’t formally announced a 2024 presidential bid, but former President Donald Trump launched his third run for the White House in November. Nikki Haley, the former United Nations ambassador and South Carolina governor, is expected to announce her candidacy later this month.

DeSantis’ visit is a reminder of the role Republican voters have in determining a presidential candidate — when they may otherwise feel overlooked in such a blue state.

Start with the cash.

“Orange County is oftentimes considered an ATM machine for national candidates because millions of dollars are raised out of Orange County for national Republican candidates, including Gov. DeSantis,” said Jon Fleischman, the former executive director of the California GOP.

DeSantis, in 2022 amid his gubernatorial reelection battle on the opposite end of the country, raked in more than $6.5 million from California, according to OpenSecrets, a campaign finance tracking source.

Trump, in 2020, raised more than $92.1 million in California. Newport Beach, where he held a fundraising event that October at billionaire Palmer Luckey’s Lido Isle home, was among the top 45 ZIP codes — in the country — where he received the most money, the data shows. Trump also campaigned in Orange County in 2016.

Then there’s the timing of California’s Republican presidential primary.

California will hold its presidential primary on March 5 — considered to be Super Tuesday, the day when many states hold their elections. It’s an opportunity for a Republican candidate to nab an extraordinary amount of delegates for the nominating process.

“Because California is likely both delegate-rich and early on the calendar, it is smart for potential candidates to invest time in our state to make sure they are getting to know our voters and presenting their vision,” said California GOP Chair Jessica Millan Patterson.

In 2020, California had 172 delegates for the Republican primary election, per the rules set by the national party. That included 10 at-large delegates, three from each congressional district (or 159 overall) and three party leaders.

In comparison, Texas had 155, Florida 122 and Arizona 57. A candidate needed at least 1,276 delegates to win the party’s nomination on the first ballot in 2020.

“Republicans that live in very blue districts become very important in those seats in determining the outcome of where the delegates in their seats go,” said Rob Stutzman, a public affairs professional who worked for former Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger.

“It’s an opportunity for Republican voters who would otherwise be rather voiceless where they live to have an outsized role in the presidential primary,” Stutzman said.

Matt Shupe, a Republican strategist who has worked on multiple statewide campaigns, said all of this may make California “the most important state” in the GOP primaries.

“Those who invest early and largely are going to have a strategic advantage. The people who are coming out here early and getting in front of important people, like the donors in Orange County, will make a difference,” said Shupe, principal of Praetorian Public Relations.

For next month’s event with DeSantis in Orange County, ticket prices range from $500 for general admission to $1,500, which includes an autographed copy of the governor’s book and a reception with photo opportunities. Sponsorship packages are available from $5,000 to $15,000.

The fundraiser is to support the Orange County GOP’s “2024 Victory campaign,” according to an email to supporters.

“No leader has accomplished more for his state than Governor DeSantis,” the party said, “and he is now sharing the Freedom Blueprint with the country.”

The Republican Party of Orange County said the dinner’s location would be provided upon RSVP.

Click here to read the full article at the OC Register


  1. So hopeful that we have more than just one DeSantis coming up in the ranks that care about their country/people and realize the communistic evil that faces this nation. Go DeSantis!!

    • Liar, Liar pants on fire – from grammer school we learaned. This is a man who promised Floridians He was their guy focused on their State. I agee with all the comments that he may very well be a RINO bowing to the Demos.

  2. I diisagree. You should get your facts before you begin empowering another RINO. That is how we got here in the first place. Be informed so you can make an important difference.

    His backers are more than questionable Democrats. Check and see. He will owe to them, and his policies will align with his big donor’s policies. Wake up Get Informed. This is not time to watch from the peanut galleries.

    NO on DeSanctimonius. He is blowing himself up in the end of course with our President’s help. He should know enough to wait his turn, but he does not know enough. Trump has been there, done that and will do it again.

  3. The more I learn about Ron DeSantis, the more I realize he would a front for the globalists who own him. Yes, he has done many good conservative things for Florida, but he is working with a Republican legislature and Republicans who are in charge of many city councils, school boards and state officials. It’s so easy for DeSantis to take his positions when he has absolutely NO push back from progressives.

    AND Governor DeSantis would be focused on running for his second term. (All the candidates outside of Trump would be in the same mindset.)

    The absolutely ONLY candidate who could save our country is Donald J. Trump – warts and all. And yes, I recognize Trump’s warts.

    Look at all the people who support Ron DeSantis: Globalists and Never Trumpers, Why would any America First American want to vote for someone who is supported by those folks?

    But it’s Trump for me or no one.

    • Eleanor, you are much more tactful than I am.

      My passion gets in the way on this subject. It is all about our freedom and preserving America!

      Very scary times.

    • Dennis P Drent says

      The problem is Trump can’t win. Proof of this is 2018, 2020, and 2022. Whatever election shenanigans there were it was not enough to overcome this losing track record. More proof? The Dems keep forcing him on the Republican ticket with talk about “democracy at stake,” “J6′,” “ultra MAGAs,” etc. Trump is the gift to Democrats that keeps on giving! Time to move on.

  4. Elections have been stolen, Dennis.

    Certainly in California. That is why we have a one-party state.

    And Donald Trump is your President since the election was surely stolen from him in 2020.

    If you do not know this, please begin getting informed with alternate information than you are now receiving. There is much conservative news out there.

    You seem to have digested Democrat talking points. Please re-evaluate.

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