DeSantis Heading to Austin for Event
that Abbott's Daughter Boss Hosting

Capitol Inside
March 29, 2023

Florida Governor Ron DeSantis plans to take an unofficial presidential campaign on a test drive to Texas next month to speak at an event that's being hosted by one of the Lone Star State's newest billionaires at an undisclosed location in Austin.

DeSantis is set to appear in the Texas Capital City on April 22 before an audience that could have as many as 200 people who Austin technology executive and investor Joe Lonsdale has invited - according to sources familiar with the highly exclusive event. DeSantis is expected to receive an award at the Austin events that Lonsdale is arranging.

Lonsdale is the managing partner for the venture capital firm 8VC that - ironically perhaps - includes Audrey Abbott as the events coordinator. Abbott is Texas Governor Greg Abbott's daughter. The elder Abbott has been eyeing a possible campaign for the White House in 2024 in a pool of Republicans that features Donald Trump and DeSantis as the frontrunners.

The top Texas leader could be a no-show as a consequence at the event that his child's boss is putting together for the Florida governor who he's viewed as a future rival in the race for the GOP nomination for the president next year. Former South Carolina Governor Nikki Haley and Trump are the only candidates who've announced for the competition up to now.

The Lonsdale team at 8VC includes a couple of lawyers who are pursuing a whistleblower lawsuit against Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton in a group of former assistants who say they were fired after accusing the state's top lawyer of bribery and other misdeeds in connection with a local donor.

It may be safe to assume that Paxton won't be at the DeSantis event as a Trump loyalist. Lieutenant Governor Dan Patrick - the Trump state campaign chairman here - might not be going to hear the Florida governor speak in Austin as a result as well.

Lonsdale gained a reputation as a Silicon Valley wunderkind before moving to Austin in the past few years. Lonsdale invested in a long line of successful startups en route to being named as the youngest member on the Forbes 100 Midas list in 2016 and again the following year.

Lonsdale contributed $10,000 to Republican George P. Bush in April 2022 when he was the Texas land commissioner attempting to unseat Paxton in a GOP primary election runoff. Paxton easily defeated Bush in overtime. Lonsdale donated $1,000 to both Bush and former Texas Supreme Court judge Eva Guzman in 2021 when they were competing against Paxton for the state lawyer's job.

Lonsdale contributed $10,000 or less in the past two years to a long list of Texas legislators that includes GOP State Senators Charles Schwertner of Georgetown, Joan Huffman of Houston, Lois Kolkhorst of Brenham and Drew Springer of Muenster along with Republican State Reps. Ellen Troxclair of Austin, Greg Bonnen of Friendswood, Giovanni Capriglione of Southlake, Brian Harrison of Midlothian, Stephanie Klick of Fort Worth and Morgan Meyer of Dallas.

more to come ...







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