Negative Ads Targeting DeSantis Top $28M, Outpacing All Other Candidates

More than $28 million has been spent attacking Governor Ron DeSantis throughout the 2024 GOP Primary–more than any other candidate–new data shows. Negative ad expenditures targeting the Florida Governor are dramatically outpacing spending against all other candidates, including Donald Trump, Joe Biden, and Nikki Haley.

As of Dec. 7, just over $28.1 million had been spent against DeSantis, compared to $20.6 million targeting Biden and $18.8 million targeting Trump. Haley, currently vying for second place in the GOP primary against DeSantis, has been the subject of just $6.3 million in negative ad expenditures. Rob Pyers, the research director at California Target Book, compiled the data.

With the Jan. 15 Iowa Caucuses just over the horizon, most recent spending focuses on DeSantis and Haley. Since mid-November, roughly $3 million has been spent attacking DeSantis and just under $2 million against Haley. In that same timeframe, less than $1 million has been spent against all other candidates combined.

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Last month, the Haley campaign announced that it would spend $10 million on a TV, radio, and digital advertising blitz in Iowa and New Hampshire. The ad campaign–aimed at knocking DeSantis down from his second-place spot in the polls–kicked off in the first week of December.

According to RealClearPolitics, Haley currently holds second place in New Hampshire polling, while DeSantis holds second place in Iowa.

In a statement announcing the campaign, a spokesman for the Haley campaign said her path to victory was “clear.”

“Nikki Haley’s momentum and path to victory are clear,” said Haley spokesman Betsy Ankney. “The same can’t be said for Ron DeSantis, who, even with a decent showing in Iowa, can’t afford a cup of coffee at the Red Arrow Diner in [Manchester] New Hampshire and is a mere tourist in South Carolina.”

In response, DeSantis Communications Director Andrew said Haley had no “mathematical pathway to victory” and accused her of boosting Donald Trump with her campaign.

“No amount of money will be enough for Nikki Haley to conceal her pro-China, pro-Gaza aid, pro-gas tax, and pro-Hillary record,” said Romeo. “As Americans look behind the curtain, they will see she does not have the extensive record of conservative achievements that Ron DeSantis boasts. It’s clear there is no way Nikki Haley can beat Donald Trump, and every dollar spent on her candidacy is an in-kind to the Trump Campaign. Ron DeSantis has the best combination of endorsements, ground game, and message in the early states, which is why the former president continues to attack only him. We are confident the Iowa voters will see who will best represent them and their values.”

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With the Iowa Caucuses now five weeks away, DeSantis continues to throw most of his efforts behind winning the battleground state. On Dec. 2, his campaign announced that he had officially visited all 99 counties in the state–a goal he had pursued relentlessly since kicking off his campaign in May.

According to RealClearPolitics, to win Iowa next month, DeSantis faces the formidable task of topping Trump, who is currently polling at 50 percent in the state. DeSantis currently has a polling average of 19.7 in the state, with Haley behind at 15.7.

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