Ron DeSantis plans 3-day fundraising swing through Texas next week

Gov. Ron DeSantis gives his second inaugural speech in front of Florida’s Old Capitol on Jan. 3, 2023. Credit: Danielle J. Brown.

Some of Texas’ biggest Republican donors are getting behind Ron DeSantis as he plans his first fundraising trip to Texas as a presidential candidate.

The Florida governor is set to visit Texas from June 7-9 for a six-city fundraising tour, according to a schedule obtained by The Texas Tribune. He will be in Midland on June 7; Fort Worth, Dallas and Houston on June 8; and The Woodlands and Austin on June 9.

It will be DeSantis’ first visit to the state since he officially launched his White House bid last week, stepping forward as the most viable Republican challenger to former President Donald Trump.

The events are drawing some of the most prolific donors in Texas GOP politics, according to invitations for some of them.

In Midland, hosts include S. Javaid Anwar, the Midland oil mogul who has been the single biggest donor to Gov. Greg Abbott over his long political career. Abbott himself has not ruled out a 2024 campaign.

The Midland host committee names many other titans of the oil industry in West Texas, such as Ernest Angelo, Kyle Stallings and Douglas Scharbauer.

In Dallas, the hosts include Oklahoma oil tycoon Harold Hamm, telecommunications billionaire Kenny Troutt and car-auction billionaire Jay Adair. The host list also features Phillip Huffines, the businessman brother of Don Huffines, the former state senator who challenged Abbott in the 2022 primary.

And in Houston, the hosts include major names in the city’s business community, such as commercial real-estate developers Alan Hassenflu and Richard Weekley. Both are in the leadership of Texans for Lawsuit Reform, the influential tort reform group in Austin.

The Houston hosts additionally include Clive Fields, a Houston doctor who already donated $500,000 to DeSantis’ Florida political committee in March.

Some of the donors have previously been supportive of Trump. Hamm backed Trump in 2016 and 2020, and the former president even considered appointing him as energy secretary. Some of the DeSantis hosts gave at least six figures to Trump’s 2020 reelection effort, with Troutt and his wife contributing at least $1.8 million.

Tickets for the fundraisers start at $3,300 per person and go up to $13,200 per couple, with donations going toward both the primary and general elections.

The DeSantis campaign did not respond to a request for comment on the fundraisers.

The news that DeSantis would make a Texas fundraising swing next week was first reported by Puck.

Disclosure: Texans for Lawsuit Reform has been a financial supporter of The Texas Tribune, a nonprofit, nonpartisan news organization that is funded in part by donations from members, foundations and corporate sponsors. Financial supporters play no role in the Tribune’s journalism. Find a complete list of them here.

This story was published earlier by The Texas Tribune, a partner of the nonprofit States Newsroom network, which includes the Florida Phoenix.

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Patrick Svitek | The Texas Tribune
Patrick Svitek | The Texas Tribune

Patrick Svitek is the primary political correspondent for The Texas Tribune. Patrick logged countless miles on the 2016 campaign trail, covering the many Texas angles of the momentous presidential race. He previously worked for the Houston Chronicle's Austin bureau. He graduated in 2014 from Northwestern University's Medill School of Journalism. He is originally from Fort Wayne, Indiana.