DeSantis to hold 'campaign kick-off' events in these 3 states after announcing White House bid

Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis will hold "campaign kick-off" events next week in the three states that lead off the GOP presidential nominating calendar, the first in-person campaigning since he declared his candidacy for the White House on Wednesday.

DeSantis will start with a May 30 event in Des Moines, Iowa, followed by a rapid series of events in four other Iowa cities on May 31. He will then travel to New Hampshire and South Carolina on June 1 and 2, according to a campaign announcement.

"We are laser-focused on taking Governor DeSantis’ forward-thinking message for restoring America to every potential voter in Iowa, New Hampshire, and South Carolina," campaign manager Generra Peck said in a statement. "Our campaign is committed to putting in the time to win these early nominating states.  No one will work harder than Governor DeSantis to share his vision with the country — he has only begun to fight."

DeSantis stopped twice in both Iowa and New Hampshire and once in South Carolina the past couple of months, as he moved closer to launching a presidential campaign.

Ahead of his visits next week, DeSantis called into morning talk radio programs in all three states on Thursday morning.

DeSantis will be in Miami, Florida on Thursday, where he’ll huddle with top donors and bundlers. 

"I think there are a bunch of donors waiting to get off the sidelines, waiting for DeSantis to enter," Dan Eberhart, an oil drilling chief executive officer and a prominent Republican donor and bundler, told Fox News.

Eberhart, who contributed $100,000 and raised half a million dollars for former President Trump’s 2020 re-election campaign but who is now a DeSantis supporter, predicted "I expect there to be a coalescing of conservative donors around Ron DeSantis."

DeSantis set a gubernatorial fundraising record in the 2022 cycle as he won a convincing re-election victory, and had $110 million cash on hand in his fundraising committees at the start of the spring. 

Much of that money will be transferred to Never Back Down, a super PAC backing the Florida governor's White House bid that is staffing up a ground operation in key electoral states across the country and pledges to spend up to $200 million on behalf of DeSantis.

The DeSantis campaign said that they hauled in $1million in fundraising in the first hour after he declared his candidacy in a campaign video that was reported first by Fox News.

The opening moves of DeSantis' campaign come after a glitchy campaign launch in a live Twitter Space on Wednesday. DeSantis had planned to announce his entry into the race in the campaign launch video and concurrently during an interview with billionaire Twitter owner Elon Musk, but so many people tuned in to listen to the space that Twitter's servers crashed.

DeSantis' allies were quick to point to it as a "break the internet" moment, while his critics argued it was an embarrassing flop. The Twitter Space had 900,000 concurrent viewers at one point, according to screenshots of the space, an all-time record.

President Biden's staff was quick to pounce on the opportunity as well, tweeting a campaign donation ad with the caption, "This link works."

The pro-Trump super PAC MAGA Inc. also tweeted an image of the Twitter Spaces with the words "failing to launch…" emblazoned across the top.

Meanwhile, former President Trump's attempt to knock DeSantis was met with widespread confusion.

"'Rob,' My Red Button is bigger, better, stronger, and is working (TRUTH!), yours does not! (per my conversation with Kim Jung Un, of North Korea, soon to become my friend!)," Trump wrote on social media Wednesday night.