Former Nevada Attorney General Adam Laxalt has resigned as chair of the pro-DeSantis Super PAC Never Back Down, marking the second major departure from the organization less than two months ahead of the Iowa caucus.
There have been repeated reports of infighting between the Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis’s presidential campaign and the pro-DeSantis Super PAC Never Back Down. Frustrations have continued to mount as the governor has failed to make significant strides in the polls throughout his presidential campaign, and each side is looking for someone to blame.
In April, Laxalt, who has ties to DeSantis dating back to their time at the Naval Justice School, formally joined the Never Back Down PAC and served as chair. However, that stint was short-lived, as he has now resigned as chair, according to reports.
In a letter to the board, reviewed by the New York Times, Laxalt wrote that he was still committed to DeSantis as the 2024 GOP nominee but said he needed to refocus his energy elsewhere.
“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.
This represents the second major loss for the PAC, as Never Back Down’s chief executive, Chris Jankowski, resigned in November, citing differences that go “well beyond a difference of strategic opinion.”
He said in a statement:
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.
Never Back Down has been plagued with difficulties since its launch, failing to come up with a strategy that has resonated with Republican voters while also pushing the boundaries of what PACs are permitted to do in relation to a formal presidential campaign.
Rumors of infighting have also been abundant. Leaders of Never Back Down met in November to discuss the rise of former South Carolina Gov. Nikki Haley, who is ramping up her efforts in Iowa and New Hampshire as the respective election days draw closer. This discussion reportedly led to a “heated argument with longtime DeSantis confidant Scott Wagner while a small group of nine board members and senior staff were discussing budgeting,” according to NBC News.
As Breitbart News reported at the time:
“You have a stick up your ass, Scott,” Never Back Down chief Jeff Roe reportedly said to PAC board member Wagner.
“Why don’t you come over here and get it?” Wagner allegedly shot back, standing up, as two board members reportedly restrained him.
“The interaction was relayed to NBC News by a source who was in the room,” the outlet reported, noting that there has been fighting between the PAC and members of DeSantis’s inner circle as they exchange blame on DeSantis’s waning status in the polls.
As drama continues to unfurl, the DeSantis campaign is looking to the newly created PAC Fight Right, which appears to be taking over DeSantis’s television ads.
That is not the only issue the DeSantis campaign has dealt with. In November, Bob Vander Plaats, who is considered to be a top evangelical leader in Iowa, confirmed a report that his organization received a $95,000 payment from what Reuters described as the “DeSantis campaign, a super PAC linked to him and a nonprofit group” prior to his official endorsement of DeSantis.
All the while, former President Trump has remarked that DeSantis donors are flocking to him as the Florida governor’s presidential campaign flails.
Trump leads DeSantis by double digits both nationally and in individual states, including the coveted states of Iowa, New Hampshire, and South Carolina.