Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis, a Republican, is the No. 1 most attacked presidential candidate in the race so far.
DeSantis is solidly in the No. 2 spot in the GOP primary, sitting squarely behind former President Trump in the race for the White House.
However, while DeSantis sits at No. 2 in the GOP polls, he is No. 1 across all candidates when targeted by negative independent expenditures.
Independent expenditures are the costs paid by campaigns to target other candidates in a race, typically funding opposition research.
Currently, DeSantis has endured over $20.2 million in negative independent expenditure spending.
Compared to Presidents Biden and Trump, DeSantis is being hit more than both of them by millions of dollars.
Biden has taken the second-most brunt of negative spending, clocking in at $9.2 million,
Trump sits just below Biden at over $8.1 million in negative independent expenditures.
DeSantis campaign communications director Andrew Romeo told Fox News Digital that “Republicans, Democrats, and the legacy media are united in their full-on assault of Ron DeSantis because he is the only candidate who can beat Joe Biden.”
“We know they will never call him the winner and we fully expect the onslaught of attacks to reach a new level on the debate stage next week, but taking arrows on behalf of the American people is nothing new for DeSantis,” Romeo said.
“It doesn’t matter how much they come after him, Ron DeSantis will never back down,” he added.
As DeSantis and former President Donald Trump compete for the GOP nomination in 2024, a new survey suggests that the Florida governor has a greater chance at beating President Biden among Virginians next cycle.
A Virginia Commonwealth University poll found that in a hypothetical 2024 matchup between the Republican nominee and Biden, who will be 82 at the time of the next election, respondents favored DeSantis over Trump.
In a 2022 rematch, 40% of respondents said they would vote for Trump, while 43% said they would vote for Biden.
When the competing candidates were DeSantis and Biden, the margin tightened, with both locking in 41% support.
The majority of respondents, 54%, said they disapprove of how Biden is currently handling his job as president.
Fox News Digital’s Joe Schoffstall contributed reporting.