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Ron DeSantis Pivots From Glitchy Campaign Launch on Twitter to Travel Blitz

(Bloomberg) -- Ron DeSantis’s presidential campaign sought to regain its footing Thursday by announcing a robust upcoming travel schedule to early-voting states a day after a glitch-filled launch.

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The Florida governor has multiple stops scheduled for next week in Iowa, New Hampshire and South Carolina as his campaign aims to build momentum to take on Donald Trump, currently the front-runner for the 2024 Republican nomination.

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DeSantis’s long-awaited presidential announcement Wednesday on Twitter alongside its billionaire owner Elon Musk suffered fits and starts, and was rife with crosstalk of technical difficulties and freezing audio, before it got going some 30 minutes behind schedule.

DeSantis has built-in advantages as he now officially gets under way, including a sizable amount of money left over from 2022 gubernatorial race that he can tap for his presidential bid, the backing of a well-organized super PAC and GOP donors who are eager for an alternative to Trump.

Read more: DeSantis Courts Donors as Drama-Free Alternative to Trump

But the past several weeks have been politically painful for DeSantis, as he stumbled to articulate his position on the conflict in Ukraine, skirted the issue of abortion in public appearances and waged a very public battle with the Walt Disney Co., one of the largest employers in Florida.

Some DeSantis insiders worry that the Florida governor waited too long to enter the race, giving Trump ample time to define him for the media and donors, but they want to see him overcome these early missteps now that he has formally launched his campaign.

Fundraising Blitz

DeSantis and his team are trying to raise millions of dollars in the first 48 hours at a two-day donor meet-up at the Four Seasons in Miami. More than 100 fundraisers have congregated at the luxury resort for a campaign briefing, an afternoon of fundraising calls and a reception with the governor on Thursday evening. The DeSantis team hopes to raise $8 to $10 million, according to two sources briefed on the plans, with each individual contributing the maximum amount allowed of $3,300.

Next week, DeSantis travels to Iowa for two days followed by New Hampshire and South Carolina — the first three GOP primary voting states. He and his senior staff recently told donors that they view Iowa’s GOP caucus as one of his best chances to challenge Trump, since the team’s internal polling shows DeSantis with a favorability rating of two-to-one with evangelicals compared to Trump.

The DeSantis team also intends to keep making the argument that the Florida governor would be eligible to serve for eight years, while Trump is limited to one more four-year term.

Meanwhile, the Trump campaign continues to relentlessly attack DeSantis on his record in Florida and as a lawmaker in Congress. Trump and his aides delighted in the many technical difficulties from DeSantis’s Twitter Spaces launch, On his Truth Social platform, Trump posted an image of a rocket, labeled “Ron 2024,” failing to launch.

DeSantis’s campaign on Thursday morning touted the 30 million views it said it received on its launch video and Twitter Spaces event, adding that they raised $1 million within one hour of announcing.

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