Resignation of "Never Back Down" SuperPAC Chairman Amidst Internal Discord After CEO Leaves

  • by:
  • Source: Wayne Dupree
  • 12/01/2023
The "Never Back Down" SuperPAC chairman for Florida Governor Ron DeSantis has resigned following many weeks of rumors of internal discord inside the group. Since they shared a room during the governor's training to become a navy officer, Adam Laxalt has known DeSantis. Laxalt also received DeSantis' backing for his failed 2022 race for the Nevada Senate.

About a month after the PAC's founding in early March of this year, Laxalt became a member. It was problematic for Laxalt to accept millions of dollars that had first been raised for a state-level PAC supporting DeSantis' bid for governor reelection, which he then reinforced with millions more from GOP megadonors.

According to Jonathan Swan, Shane Goldmacher, and Maggie Haberman of The New York Times, Laxalt's involvement in the PAC was "widely seen as Mr. DeSantis and his wife seeking to have someone they trusted monitoring the activities of the well-funded group." Never Back Down has also been a key component of Team DeSantis' strategy, drawing criticism once more for assuming responsibility for event planning and transportation for the financially strapped campaign.

But things haven't always gone as planned. A PAC spokesperson acknowledged back in July that the governor was "way behind" the "runaway frontrunner," former President Donald Trump. DeSantis also distanced himself when a purposefully leaked email ostensibly offering debate tips from the organization garnered widespread derision.

A number of DeSantis's friends openly expressed displeasure with the PAC's ad purchases and other strategic actions, and in mid-November, a few of them founded a new Super PAC called "Fight Right, Inc." NBC News revealed on November 21 that at a board and senior staff meeting, the PAC's main consultant, Jeff Roe, "nearly came to blows" with "longtime DeSantis confidant," Scott Wagner. The unrest persisted throughout the month.

The CEO of the PAC, Chris Jankowski, announced his resignation on November 22. In a statement, he stated that his disagreements with the other group leaders extended "far beyond a difference of strategic opinion," although he did not provide any other details.


When Jankowski resigned, Laxalt appeared to be planning to stay with the PAC. The night of her departure, she sent an email to the staff announcing that Kristin Davidson, the COO, would take over as CEO. She wrote, "We look forward to hitting the ground running with all of you after the [Thanksgiving] holiday."

Still, Laxalt was no longer in use a little more than a week later. Laxalt stated in a letter to the board on November 26 that he was still in favor of DeSantis' candidacy, but that he needed to devote more time and energy to his family and legal firm after spending almost 26 months in a full-scale campaign, according to the Times.


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