Report: DeSantis Super PAC Interim CEO Ousted After 9 Days

Ron DeSantis
AP Photo/Charlie Neibergall

Kristin Davison was reportedly fired on Friday as the interim CEO for the pro-DeSantis Super PAC Never Back Down, just over a week after she filled the role, signaling continued dysfunction within the organization.

Politico’s Alex Isenstadt first reported that Davison was fired Friday, nine days after assuming the position, citing two sources familiar with the move. A vague description of “management and personnel issues” from one of the sources was noted in the article as the reasons for her termination.

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An internal email reviewed by the outlet revealed that Scott Wagner would be replacing Davison as the third CEO in the course of several weeks. Davison did not respond to Politico’s comment request, while Never Back Down provided the outlet with Wagner’s contact.

Davison had replaced the former CEO, Chris Jankowski, who exited the campaign in November.

Wagner will be filling two roles at once, according to Politico. He will also serve as the campaign’s board chairman, a position formerly held by former Nevada Attorney General Adam Laxalt (R), who resigned November 26. 

Republican Nevada Senate candidate Adam Laxalt speaks during a panel discussion, July 8, 2022, in Las Vegas. (Photo by Ronda Churchill / AFP) (Photo by RONDA CHURCHILL/AFP via Getty Images)

Republican Nevada Senate candidate Adam Laxalt speaks during a panel discussion, July 8, 2022, in Las Vegas. (RONDA CHURCHILL/AFP via Getty Images)

In a letter to the board reviewed by the New York Times, Laxalt noted he needed to return to his law practice and family after more than two years working on campaigns. 

“After nearly 26 straight months of being in a full-scale campaign, I need to return my time and attention to my family and law practice,” he wrote. 

Notably, before he joined Never Back Down in April, Laxalt ran a highly competitive campaign as a U.S. Senate candidate in Nevada in the 2022 general election, where he nearly unseated incumbent Sen. Catherine Cortez Masto (D-NV). He drew 48.04 percent of the vote to her 48.81 percent.

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Jankowski’s exit came four days earlier, on November 22, as Isenstadt wrote.

In a statement, Jankowski cited differences that go “well beyond a difference of strategic opinion,” Breitbart News’s Hanna Bleau Knudson noted.

Jankowski said: 

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. For the future of our country I support and pray Ron DeSantis is our 47th president.

The shakeups come as rumors of conflict between the DeSantis campaign and the Never Back Down PAC — which are not legally allowed to coordinate under federal election law — have swirled. Infighting has also reportedly been prevalent within the Never Back Down PAC itself. 

According to a source cited by NBC News, Wagner even had a heated moment in November with top Never Back Down strategist Jeff Roe during a meeting about former Gov. Nikki Haley’s (R-SC) rise in the polls. Roe reportedly told him, “You have a stick up your ass, Scott.”

“Why don’t you come over here and get it?” Wagner shot back.

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This all comes with the Iowa Caucuses less than a month and a half away and as major Republican donors are starting to put money behind candidates they think are best poised to take on Trump.

On Monday, it was revealed American for Prosperity Action, the political arm of Americans for Prosperity which is linked to the Republican establishment mega-donor Charles Koch, endorsed Haley for president.

ABC News Washington Chief Correspondent Jonathan Karl noted the group intends to dump tens of millions in the primary, a welcome sign for Haley, who averages 14.3 percentage points in Real Clear Politics’ (RCP) Iowa polling average. Notably, the latest numbers out of Iowa on the website were an average from November 16.

DeSantis held a slim lead over Haley in the RCP poll, with a 17.3 percent average in Iowa as of November 16. After Haley scored the AFP Action endorsement, DeSantis campaign spokesman Andrew Romeo put out a sarcastic statement suggesting former President Donald Trump, the leading candidate by a very wide margin, was the true beneficiary of the move. 

“Congratulations to Donald Trump on securing the Koch endorsement. Like clockwork, the pro-open borders, pro-jail break bill establishment is lining up behind a moderate who has no mathematical pathway of defeating the former president,” Romeo said. 

“Every dollar spent on Nikki Haley’s candidacy should be reported as an in-kind to the Trump campaign. No one has a stronger record of beating the establishment than Ron DeSantis, and this time will be no different,” he added. 


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