Top DeSantis Strategist Leaves Campaign

By Victor Winston, updated on December 18, 2023

The political landscape for Governor Ron DeSantis's presidential campaign took a dramatic turn with the departure of a key strategist.

Jeff Roe, the principal architect of Governor Ron DeSantis's presidential campaign, resigned from the DeSantis super PAC, creating waves in political circles.

Jeff Roe, a prominent figure in Republican political strategy, announced his resignation from the "Never Back Down" (NBD) super PAC, which he helped establish to support Governor DeSantis's bid for the presidency. This development followed a series of setbacks for NBD, including internal conflicts and strategic disagreements that have become increasingly public.

Internal Strife and Resignations Plague DeSantis PAC

Roe's resignation came shortly after a Washington Post report highlighted significant dysfunction within NBD. The report detailed internal disagreements and compliance concerns that led to the departure of the board chairman and founding CEO. Furthermore, the report sheds light on internal conflicts spilling into the public view.

These developments are part of a broader trend within the super PAC, which has seen a notable exodus of senior officials. Since late November, five senior NBD officials have left the organization. This attrition points to deeper issues within the organization, which was intended to be a pioneering force in presidential campaign strategy.

Adding to the turmoil, Governor DeSantis himself expressed doubts about NBD's leadership. This skepticism from the candidate has contributed to the growing perception of a campaign in disarray.

A New Super PAC Emerges Amidst NBD's Struggles

The difficulties faced by NBD have been compounded by the emergence of a new DeSantis super PAC in mid-November, which has increasingly drawn financial support away from NBD. This shift in donor focus reflects growing concerns about NBD's effectiveness and strategic direction.

In the wake of these challenges, James Uthmeier, DeSantis's second campaign manager, openly advised donors to redirect their contributions to other avenues, particularly for television advertising. This public statement indicates the deepening cracks within the campaign's fundraising efforts.

Roe's departure represents a significant shift in the campaign's trajectory. His background as a top GOP operative and the head of Axiom, Washington's largest GOP consulting firm, had positioned him as a key player in DeSantis's presidential ambitions.

The Super PAC Model Faces a Critical Test

The NBD super PAC was conceived as an innovative approach to presidential campaign strategy, but its struggles have raised questions about the viability of this model. The super PAC's failure to gain traction in the polls and its internal conflicts have been seen as emblematic of broader issues within the DeSantis campaign and the super PAC model in general.

Governor DeSantis's campaign has been facing significant challenges in the polls, lagging in key states like Iowa and New Hampshire. The issues plaguing NBD have only exacerbated these difficulties, casting doubt on the campaign's direction and strategy.

Roe's resignation, coming just weeks before the crucial Iowa caucuses on January 15, 2024, signals a critical juncture for the DeSantis campaign. The campaign's performance in these early primaries will be closely watched as an indicator of its overall viability.

According to Roe:

“I cannot in good conscience stay affiliated with Never Back Down given the statements in the Washington Post today. They are not true and an unwanted distraction at a critical time for Governor DeSantis.”

Conclusion

Roe's departure and the ensuing shakeup within the DeSantis campaign have been met with varied reactions. While some view it as a necessary recalibration, others see it as a sign of deeper troubles within the campaign. The next few weeks will be critical for Governor DeSantis's campaign as it navigates these turbulent waters and seeks to regain its footing in the run-up to the Iowa caucuses.

  • Jeff Roe resigns from "Never Back Down" super PAC amid internal strife and strategic disagreements.
  • Significant dysfunction and resignations within the NBD, including key leaders, highlight challenges in the DeSantis campaign.
  • A new DeSantis super PAC emerges, drawing support away from NBD.
  • Roe's departure comes just weeks before the Iowa caucuses, marking a crucial moment for the campaign.

About Victor Winston

Victor is a freelance writer and researcher who focuses on national politics, geopolitics, and economics.

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