DeSantis Super PAC Chairman Resigns in Second Major Departure

Adam Laxalt’s departures comes on the heels of Never Back Down CEO Chris Jankowski’s resignation.
DeSantis Super PAC Chairman Resigns in Second Major Departure
Republican presidential candidate and Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis speaks during the Republican Jewish Coalition in Las Vegas, Nev., on Oct. 28, 2023. (Madalina Vasiliu/The Epoch Times)
Caden Pearson

Adam Laxalt, the chairman of the Never Back Down super PAC backing Gov. Ron DeSantis (R-Fla.) in his bid for the 2024 Republican presidential nomination, has resigned.

This move comes on the heels of the recent departure of the super PAC’s head, Chris Jankowski, who cited an “untenable” situation within the organization.

Mr. Laxalt, the former Republican attorney general of Nevada, informed the super PAC’s board of his decision via a letter obtained by the New York Times.

The letter reportedly said that he was stepping down to return to his law practice and family “after nearly 26 straight months of being in a full-scale campaign.” The Epoch Times has not viewed the letter, but a spokesperson for the super PAC confirmed the resignation.

Despite his resignation, Mr. Laxalt, who is a personal friend of the governor, stated his continued support for Mr. DeSantis’s 2024 presidential bid.

The DeSantis campaign responded to the news through Deputy Campaign Manager David Polyansky, who emphasized the enduring strength of “Team DeSantis” and expressed confidence in Never Back Down’s organizational prowess.

“The collective firepower of Team DeSantis remains unmatched,” said Mr. Polyansky. “As the last three Iowa Caucus winners have shown, it takes a combination of hard work, air support, and grassroots organizing to win.

“Never Back Down boasts an impressive field operation and ground game,” he continued. “Working alongside their independent efforts, we will all celebrate hitting our 99th Iowa County tomorrow and carry the support of the most robust turnout operation in modern Iowa history into success on January 15.”

Mr. Laxalt joined Never Back Down in April, before Mr. DeSantis, who is a personal friend, formally launched his campaign.

This marks the second significant departure from Never Back Down following Mr. Jankowski’s resignation.

“Never Back Down’s main goal and sole focus has been to elect Governor Ron DeSantis as president. 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,” said Mr. Jankowski in a statement provided by a spokeswoman for the super PAC.

Mr. Jankowski reiterated his unwavering support for Mr. DeSantis’ bid for the GOP nomination despite the internal strife.

The internal discord within Never Back Down surfaced following reports by NBC News and The New York Times, citing anonymous sources, and detailing disagreements among the group’s leadership. Allegedly, a heated argument erupted during a leadership meeting, nearly escalating to a physical confrontation, according to “a source who was in the room.”

Nevada Republican Senate nominee Adam Laxalt speaks at a Republican midterm election night party at Red Rock Casino in Las Vegas, on Nov. 8, 2022. (Mario Tama/Getty Images)
Nevada Republican Senate nominee Adam Laxalt speaks at a Republican midterm election night party at Red Rock Casino in Las Vegas, on Nov. 8, 2022. (Mario Tama/Getty Images)

A new super PAC called Fight Right, which received a $1 million infusion, formed soon after the disagreement reportedly broke out.

The DeSantis campaign welcomed Fight Right, with a spokesperson saying they were “excited to see even more backers stepping up to support Ron DeSantis’ candidacy.”

The departures of Mr. Laxalt and Mr. Jankowski come as GOP presidential campaigns enter the final stretch before the Iowa caucuses in January.

Mr. DeSantis, first seen as the main alternative to former President Trump in the Republican primary, trails significantly behind him in polls at 13. 6 percent to President Trump’s commanding lead at 62 percent support. Ms. Haley follows at 9.6 percent, and entrepreneur Vivek Ramaswamy at 4.8 percent.

Ms. Haley, once considered a long-shot, has also made notable gains in some state-level polls, emerging victorious in a mock Iowa caucus and winning a bipartisan New Hampshire poll against President Joe Biden.

The gains by Ms. Haley were reportedly discussed during the executive meeting of Never Back Down, where the heated disagreement occurred.