(NEW YORK) — Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis has raised over $1 million since the first GOP presidential primary debate, according to his campaign, as the Florida governor works to build momentum off of Wednesday’s contest.
DeSantis entered the debate looking to make a renewed pitch to a national audience and his campaign quickly worked to capitalize on his performance with an all-day fundraiser with donors in Milwaukee the day after — resulting in a cash win for the Florida governor, according to DeSantis’ campaign.
“People were very happy and excited by his showing,” Hal Lambert, a GOP megadonor and CEO of investment-management firm Point Bridge Capital, told ABC News when asked what the response has been from donors to DeSantis’ debate outing.
“He got his name out there, he got his message out there and so many people haven’t seen it. The more we do these, people are going to realize he’s the only one on that stage that has a chance of beating Trump and is the only one that has a chance to become president.”
Sources who attended the fundraiser in Milwaukee described it similarly to the launch of DeSantis’ presidential campaign in May, in which supporters and DeSantis himself gathered in a room and picked up the phone to call donors.
A close DeSantis adviser told ABC News, “today was a great call day for the campaign. There’s a lot of renewed excitement around his performance last night that translated into a good fundraising day.”
Primary voters were also happy with the governor’s performance.
According to a new FiveThirtyEight, Washington Post/Ipsos poll, which surveyed likely Republican primary voters asking who they thought had the best debate performance, DeSantis came out on top with 29% saying he did the best. Businessman and Entrepreneur Vivek Ramaswamy came second to the governor, with 26%.
The apparent bump for DeSantis comes following several changes within the governor’s campaign over the past month, including laying off more than a third of his staff and replacing his campaign manager, Generra Peck, with his gubernatorial office’s chief of staff, James Uthmeier.
The amount of money raised by the DeSantis campaign since the debate may indicate a sense of renewal among his supporters.
“Ron DeSantis showed last night that he is a proven leader who will deliver results as president, and we are thrilled with the flood of support we have received since his debate victory,” Uthmeier told ABC News in a statement. “We look forward to building on this momentum in the weeks and months ahead as the Governor continues to outwork everyone in this race as he lays out his vision to reverse our nation’s decline and revive the American Dream.”
Other allies of DeSantis celebrated the Florida governor’s performance in Milwaukee Wednesday night, arguing that he stood out as presidential and mature while mudslinging occurred around him.
Chad Wilbanks, a lobbyist supporting DeSantis’ bid, told ABC News that the governor “remained above the fray and acted like an adult.”
The DeSantis campaign had been preparing the public for DeSantis to receive the bulk of attacks, which would prove, they argued in recent days, that his opponents view him as a clear second choice to Trump. The lack of attacks surprised those in his orbit.
“It didn’t go how I expected it to go,” Ken Cuccinelli, founder of the pro-DeSantis super PAC Never Back Down, told ABC News in the spin room afterward. “He’s taken so much incoming up to this point and there wasn’t very much [tonight],” he said, adding he was “very happy” with DeSantis’ performance.
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