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Disney Feud Cost DeSantis His Billionaires, Now His Campaign is Struggling For Cash

DeSantis, Haley, and Disney World
Nikki Haley, Disney World, and Ron DeSantis. Credit: Gage Skidmore, Flickr/ Disney

It’s easy to argue that the feud between The Walt Disney Company and Florida Governor Ron DeSantis has hurt both sides. The fight has hurt Disney’s reputation among some fans and, more importantly to Disney, hurt their bottom line. For Governor DeSantis, his fellow Republicans running for the presidential nomination have been pounding him on picking a fight with his state’s largest employer and one of its largest taxpayers. But Disney has a decided advantage over DeSantis: Disney will continue as a company, while the Florida governor is term-limited and will be out of office in 2026.

Florida Governor Ron DeSantis

Credit: Gage Skidmore, Flickr

Related: The Billionaire Has Left the Building. DeSantis Loses Major Donor Over Disney Feud

With nowhere else to go, Governor DeSantis threw his hat in the ring for the Republican presidential nomination. But the feud with Disney has come back to bite him yet again. Billionaires Ken Griffin and Nelson Peltz decided months ago that they would not support DeSantis during his presidential run, with both men calling into question his fight with Disney. Griffin called the feud “pointless.”

At the time, DeSantis tried to claw back some respect without directly criticizing Griffin and Peltz, saying he would “always fight for the kids.” But now, the loss of those large-scale donors is crippling the DeSantis campaign. Politico reports that DeSantis is running out of money, and most of his campaign cash has come from donors who cannot give him any more money. Last quarter, DeSantis raised $31.1 million; however, 75 percent of that money came from donors who are no longer eligible to give him any more money, having already reached the $3,300 threshold.

Politico analyzed the amount of campaign cash each Republican candidate had available, with DeSantis having the least amount, with only 45 percent of the money he raised available to spend immediately. All campaigns set aside money for the general election. DeSantis has also tapped out most of his donors and has yet to cultivate new donors.

Ron DeSantis and Mickey Mouse

Credit: Gage Skidmore Flickr/Disney

The Disney/DeSantis Feud

This fight began nearly 20 months ago when former Disney CEO Bob Chapek spoke out against Florida’s Parental Rights in Education Act, known by its critics as the “Don’t Say Gay” bill. DeSantis and the Florida Legislature responded by stripping Disney of its Reedy Creek Improvement District and replacing it with the Central Florida Tourism Oversight District, filled with DeSantis appointees.

Control over Walt Disney World now heads to the courts. Disney has sued DeSantis in Federal Court, claiming that the governor and the Florida Legislature violated the company’s First Amendment Rights. Disney is also suing the Central Florida Tourism Oversight District in State Court, claiming that the creation of the District violated the Contract Clause of the Constitution. Disney is seeking unspecific damages and the dissolution of the new Board.

magic kingdom disney world

Credit: Disney

Related: Disney’s Legal Strategy in DeSantis Case: Go For the Jugular

Just this week, the Board asked the State Court to dismiss Disney’s case while Disney sought to interview the former Reedy Creek Improvement District Administrator to solidify its Contract Clause case.

More Bad News For DeSantis

All Republicans running for President are currently trailing former President Donald Trump. The race is for second place, though, as the ex-President faces dozens of Federal Charges. In Iowa, Florida Gov Ron DeSantis is currently in second place but has dropped in New Hampshire.

DeSantis Board wants Disney lawsuit thrown out

Credit: Disney/Gage Skidmore, Flickr/Canva

Former South Carolina Governor Nikki Haley has moved four points ahead of DeSantis in the Granite State for second place in the primary. After the Iowa Caucus comes the South Carolina primary, where Haley is still very popular.

If Haley were to come in second place in two of the first three states, she would have the momentum and, more importantly, the donors, heading into the remaining primary calendar.

We will continue to update this story at Disney Fanatic.

About Rick

Rick is an avid Disney fan. He first went to Disney World in 1986 with his parents and has been hooked ever since. Rick is married to another Disney fan and is in the process of turning his two children into fans as well. When he is not creating new Disney adventures, he loves to watch the New York Yankees and hang out with his dog, Buster. In the fall, you will catch him cheering for his beloved NY Giants.

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