DeSantis Political Woes Deepen After Chief Strategist for Super Pac Resigns – The political challenges for Florida Governor Ron DeSantis have intensified with the unexpected departure of a key strategist from a prominent campaign fund, dealing another setback to his diminishing 2024 presidential aspirations. Jeff Roe, the chief strategist of Never Back Down, the Super PAC supporting DeSantis, announced his resignation from the substantial $269 million fund.
This fund was promoted as an innovative approach to navigate campaign finance laws that prohibit the coordination of a PAC’s spending with a candidate’s campaign. Weeks before DeSantis faces a crucial test in the Iowa Republican presidential nomination race, Jeff Roe resigns. In this competition for the second spot behind the frontrunner Donald Trump, DeSantis’s approval declined from 18% to 17%, while Nikki Haley rose from 12% to 15%, according to the recent Iowa State University/Civiqs poll.
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Trump remains the top choice for 54% of Iowa Republicans. “I can’t believe it ended this way,” Roe said in a statement posted on X. He said he was “so proud to have worked alongside these men and women at NBD 24/7 the past nine months to save the country. Good luck the next 28 days and a wake up. I’m so sorry I can’t be there with you.”
Roe’s resignation marks the latest and potentially most impactful exit from Never Back Down, the organization responsible for extensive door-knocking, get-out-the-vote efforts, and coordinated political advertising spending. It was initially funded with over $80 million from DeSantis’s political accounts this year. The departure came hours after the Washington Post pointed to disputes between the fund and the Tallahassee-based campaign.
Including accusations of “mismanagement and conduct issues, including numerous unauthorized leaks containing false information”. “The team in Tallahassee could not understand how NBD’s staff could not forfeit their own brand and desire for control,” a person said to be familiar with the campaign’s thinking told the Post.
“It was like men are from Mars, women are from Venus during the first months of the campaign.” Roe, who previously ran Texas senator Ted Cruz’s 2016 presidential campaign and worked as an adviser on Virginia governor Glenn Youngkin’s election operation, said the description in the story were false but he “cannot in good conscience stay affiliated with Never Back Down given the statements”.
In recent weeks, key figures within the fund, including the chairman and communications director, have been dismissed or resigned. DeSantis’s associates in Florida have established a new super PAC, Fight Right, which has received public approval from the DeSantis campaign. Allegations have surfaced, suggesting that connections between DeSantis’s campaign and an external network of groups may be blurring legal boundaries.
Individuals knowledgeable about DeSantis’s political circle indicated that the governor and his wife, unsettled by stagnant Iowa poll numbers, raised concerns about the messaging of Never Back Down. Allegedly, these concerns were conveyed to the board members of Never Back Down. Despite these concerns, DeSantis’s campaign has vehemently denied any wrongdoing.
Entering the 2024 race with considerable attention, there were widespread expectations that DeSantis could pose a significant challenge to Trump, who faced various legal issues. However, DeSantis’s campaign encountered early hurdles and has struggled to gain traction, both nationally and in crucial early-voting states.