Presidential candidates are flocking to sun-drenched Florida this winter — and it’s not just for the warm weather.
Florida has increasingly become an essential hub for campaign fundraising, with billionaires like Citadel’s Ken Griffin relocating there in recent years and the state’s booming financial center — cheekily dubbed Wall Street South — drawing candidates eager to tap wealthy donors.
President Joe Biden and Republican candidate Nikki Haley will attend fundraisers in the state next week, and former President Donald Trump — the GOP frontrunner — is hosting events at his Mar-a-Lago residence next month.
Florida’s Emerging Role in Campaign Fundraising
Florida has emerged as a crucial destination for presidential campaign fundraising. Not only is it known for its beautiful weather, but it has also become a hotspot for campaign donors and events.
Wealthy individuals, including billionaire Ken Griffin of Citadel, have relocated to the state in recent years, and its financial center, often humorously referred to as “Wall Street South,” has attracted candidates seeking contributions from affluent supporters.
President Joe Biden and Republican candidate Nikki Haley are heading to Florida for fundraising events. Former President Donald Trump, a leading contender for the GOP nomination, is also planning fundraisers at his Mar-a-Lago residence in the state.
Biden’s Fundraisers in Florida
On Tuesday, President Joe Biden is scheduled to attend two fundraising events in Florida.
One of these events will take place in Miami and is hosted by prominent figures, including hedge fund billionaire Henry Laufer, Chris Korge (national finance chair of the Biden Victory Fund), and Alex Heckler of LSN Partners LLC.
Another fundraiser is set to be held in Palm Beach, with hosts such as Sean Domnick of Domnick Cunningham & Yaffa and Kelly Domnick. This event will feature co-hosts from the legal profession, including Michael Haggard and Wayne Hogan.
Florida’s Growing Contribution to Campaign Funding
According to the Federal Election Commission, Florida residents have made significant financial contributions to presidential campaigns, with $23.3 million donated through the third quarter of 2023.
This amount ranks Florida second only to California in terms of campaign funding. In the 2020 election, Florida was the fifth-largest source of campaign contributions.
Haley’s Fundraising Efforts
Nikki Haley, a prominent Republican candidate challenging Trump for the party’s nomination, is also actively participating in fundraising activities in Florida.
Her campaign includes events like a roundtable discussion in Miami hosted by Barry Sternlicht of Starwood Capital Group and support from hedge fund veteran Dan Och and other backers.
Haley’s fundraising efforts are crucial for her campaign’s viability, especially following her defeats in Iowa and New Hampshire. Polls indicate that she is significantly trailing Trump in her home state of South Carolina, which is set to hold its Republican primary next month.
Trump’s Stance on Haley’s Supporters
Former President Donald Trump, the frontrunner for the GOP nomination, has warned supporters of Nikki Haley. He threatened to “permanently bar” anyone who continues to fund Haley’s political operation.
However, several influential Wall Street figures continue to support her, including billionaires Stanley Druckenmiller, Henry Kravis, and Cliff Asness, who are co-hosting a fundraiser for her in New York.
Growing Support for Haley
Despite Trump’s warning, donor interest in contributing to SFA Fund Inc., a super PAC aligned with Nikki Haley, has surged. This super PAC raised an impressive $50.1 million in the second half of 2023.
Haley also reported raising $24 million in the fourth quarter of 2023, including funds raised for her leadership PAC and SFA Fund, in addition to her campaign’s contributions. Since the New Hampshire primary, her campaign has generated $2.6 million in donations.
Trump’s Fundraising Numbers Awaited
Donald Trump has not disclosed his fundraising figures for the last quarter, with the Federal Election Commission reporting deadline approaching.
In the third quarter of 2023, Trump raised $45.5 million, capitalizing on his political momentum, even using a mugshot from Georgia for fundraising purposes.
Biden’s Fundraising Success
On the Democratic side, President Joe Biden raised an impressive $97 million in the fourth quarter of 2023. His campaign reported having $117 million in cash, setting a record for a Democratic candidate at that point in the election cycle.
Biden can receive donations of up to $929,600 from individual contributors, with the funds allocated among his campaign, the Democratic National Committee, and state parties.
This maximum donation significantly surpasses the $3,300 individual contribution limit for campaigns like Trump and Haley, which lack broader party agreements.
In conclusion, Florida’s growing influence as a fundraising hub for presidential candidates highlights the importance of the state’s wealthy donors and financial center in the political landscape.
Candidates like Biden, Haley, and Trump actively seek financial support in the state as they navigate the path to the 2024 election.