Guess How Much Ron DeSantis’ Campaign Spent on Each Iowa Vote
The Florida governor seemingly set money on fire during his failed campaign for president, which saw him drop out days after the Iowa caucus.
I maintain that pretty much the only people who were served by Ron DeSantis’ failed bid for the presidency were American voters with a humiliation kink. Yet, somehow, his campaign has only gotten more embarrassing since he dropped out last month.
According to a recent Rolling Stone report that looked at new Federal Election Commission filings, DeSantis spent over $7,000 on each vote he received in the Iowa caucus. Specifically, the Florida governor and his allies—namely two PACs called Never Back Down (lol) and Fight Right—spent about $170 million on his bid for the nomination, which comes out to approximately $7,169 per vote. Seven Thousand One Hundred and Sixty Nine. Dollars. Per. Vote.
I’m not saying money doesn’t play a huge role in politics. But it’s at least vaguely heartening to see that money can really only take you so far if you’re robotic and weird and make everyone uncomfortable…? That, at least, is the silver-ish lining I’m choosing to take away in a political system where rich donors can set almost $200 million on fire for a man whose only real political “achievement” is bullying LGBTQ kids.
That DeSantis and co. dropped several months of rent on each voter who backed him is incredible—even if it’s consistent with what we’ve long known about his campaign, which is that it was terrible with money. Between his refusal to fly on anything but private jets, inability to fundraise, and deep internal turmoil within the PACs that supported him, the campaign quickly became a financial dumpster fire. Within two months of his disastrous launch—via Twitter Spaces last May—he laid off about a third of his staff as the campaign burned through almost $8 million in just over a month. In October, Politico reported that his campaign “spent roughly $1.5 million on travel costs during the first six weeks of the campaign.” I don’t know much about rich people math, but that sounds… insane???
Meanwhile, the megadonors who once saw DeSantis as the Republican Party’s future quickly caught on that he was a charisma void and, for lack of better words, loser…and lost faith in him pretty quickly. Other big-ticket donors were reportedly spooked by the extreme book ban and abortion laws DeSantis backed, specifically to court the increasingly hard-right Republican base. (To that, I say, why are you a Republican donor in the first place???)
Lest you think paying thousands per vote would be a wake-up call that people do not want you to be president, DeSantis does not seem to have gotten the message: Axios reports that DeSantis already appears to be posturing for a 2028 bid, “eyeing a course correction for a potential round two.” I hope he does run, even if it fills me with existential dread that there seems to be all the money in the world for loser politicians to humiliate themselves and none for anything else. But getting another chance to watch one of the most distinctly evil people alive bankrupt his donors for all of three votes sounds very fun, and honestly, might be something our divided nation could unite around in four years.