Blow for Ron DeSantis’ campaign as super PAC CEO quits

DeSantis’s polling has fallen with him now placing fifth in New Hampshire

Eric Garcia
Thursday 23 November 2023 17:07 GMT
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Louise Thomas

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Florida Governor Ron DeSantis’s presidential campaign was dealt a blow this week when the chief executive of the super PAC supporting him resigned, The New York Times reported on Wednesday.

Chris Jankowski sent a resignation note to the board of Never Back Down, a super PAC dedicated to electing Mr DeSantis as president.

“Never Back Down’s main goal and sole focus has been to elect Gov. Ron DeSantis as president,” Mr Jankowski said in a statement.

“Given the current environment it has become untenable for me to deliver on the shared goal and that goes well beyond a difference of strategic opinion. For the future of our country I support and pray Ron DeSantis is our 47th president.”

Never Back Down had raised a massive war chest of $130m in anticipation of Mr DeSantis’s presidential run.

But the Florida governor, who overwhelmingly won re-election last year after narrowly winning his first run, has faced a series of missteps and campaign infighting and has so far failed to offer a legitimate challenge to former president Donald Trump – the current frontrunner for the Republican nomination.

Mr Trump mercilessly hammered Mr DeSantis before he officially announced he was running for president in May, labeling him “DeSanctimonious” or “DeSanctus”. He has continued to troll his GOP rival since.

While Super PACs are not legally allowed to coordinate with official campaigns, Never Back Down frequently featured Mr DeSantis as its guest during campaign events and often followed him during campaign stops.

Ron DeSantis has fallen in polls
Ron DeSantis has fallen in polls (Getty Images)

The super PAC also transferred $1m to a new super PAC called Fight Right, which is running negative ads against Ms Haley.

Fight Right said in a statement on Tuesday that it will “join the fight with the premier DeSantis Super PAC, Never Back Down, to achieve a DeSantis victory”.

The Times reported that Mr DeSantis and his wife Casey complained that voters had been blaming the Florida governor for ads attacking Ms Haley, despite them not coming directly from his campaign.

Mr DeSantis’s polling has cratered in recent months after frequently showing him placing second against Mr Trump. A poll last week from Monmouth University showed Mr DeSantis placing fifth in New Hampshire, behind businessman Vivek Ramaswamy in fourth, former New Jersey governor Chris Christie in third place and former South Carolina governor Nikki Haley in second place.

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