Gov. Ron DeSantis of Florida raised $8.2 million in his first 24 hours as a presidential candidate, his campaign said Thursday, a huge sum that cements his position as the leading Republican rival to Donald J. Trump.
Mr. DeSantis’ campaign began Wednesday night with an error-filled kickoff on Twitter, but that didn’t seem to dampen the donor’s enthusiasm. The campaign said Wednesday it had raised $1 million in a single hour.
The $8.2 million figure is more than the $6.3 million that Joseph R. Biden Jr. raised in his first 24 hours as a candidate in 2019, or the $6.1 million former Rep. Beto O’Rourke raised that same year.
The fundraiser will immediately inject his campaign with the cash needed to fund a growing political operation and aggressive travel schedule that will take the governor to 12 cities across three states next week.
The amount is roughly double the $4 million that Mr. Trump’s campaign said it had raised it within 24 hours of his criminal indictment earlier this year, though most of that money was raised organically online.
The DeSantis total includes both online contributions and donations secured by bundlers who gathered Thursday in the grand ballroom of the Four Seasons in Miami for what was dubbed a Ron-O-Rama to make fundraising appeals for the campaign.
Bryan Griffin, a DeSantis spokesman, said the campaign raised both primary and general election funds. The campaign can raise $3,300 per donor for both the primary and general election. He declined to say how money was only earmarked for use in the general election if Mr. DeSantis was to be the nominee.
A donor who called into the room first revealed that the campaign had raised $8.2 million, and Mr. Griffin confirmed the figure. All the funds are so-called hard dollars that the campaign can use.
The total does not include any of the funds that the pro-DeSantis super PAC, Never Back Down, has raised in recent months for a Draft DeSantis account, which can be transferred directly to the campaign, according to Mr. Griffin. It is unclear how much money is in that account.
It was not immediately clear how many donors had contributed in the first 24 hours.
At the Four Seasons in Miami, Lou Barletta, a former congressman from Pennsylvania and former Trump ally, said he spent seven and a half hours calling contacts for donations to Mr. have a lunch buffet.
“There was so much enthusiasm in that room,” said Mr. Bartlett. “I had very, very few people say no to me on those calls.”
Mr. DeSantis himself helped make calls for parts of the day, according to several donors in attendance, and Thursday night he and his wife, Casey, were scheduled to meet with donors in what was billed as a “special party.”
The super PAC supporting Mr. DeSantis, plans a budget of $200 million, but campaign funds are far more difficult to raise because they face a strict donation cap.
The $8.2 million that Mr. DeSantis brought in far exceeds how Mr. Trump began his 2024 fundraising in late 2022. Mr. Trump had raised about $9.5 million in the six weeks after he announced his campaign in mid-November.
Nicholas Nehamas contributed with reporting.