Communications Director Erin Perrine Latest Departure in DeSantis’s Never Back Down Exit Wave

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Erin Perrine, communications director of the pro-DeSantis PAC Never Back Down, is one of the latest individuals to depart from the organization in recent days, as the DeSantis campaign fails to see momentum as the primaries draw closer.

Chris Jankowski, the chief executive of the super PAC, led the charge last month, standing as the first major departure from the organization, asserting that 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.”

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Kristin Davison stepped in to fill his position, but the interim CEO was fired just nine days into the job, signaling further chaos within the group.

Shortly after, former Nevada Attorney General Adam Laxalt resigned as chair of Never Back Down, after joining the PAC in April.

“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 in his explanation.

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)

There were even more departures over the weekend, including communications director Erin Perrine and director of operations Matt Palmisano, according to the Associated Press, which spoke to two individuals familiar with the matter. The outlet cited those close to the situation, who believe the wave of exits “is seen as an aggressive step by DeSantis’ loyalists to reassert control over Never Back Down.”

DeSantis ally Scott Wagner is now serving as both interim CEO and board chairman after serving on the board. He made headlines in November after reportedly fighting with fellow board members while discussing budgeting and fellow presidential candidate Nikki Haley’s rise in the polls.

As Breitbart News reported:

“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.

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The steady stream of departures from the pro-DeSantis super PAC comes as the DeSantis campaign looks to the newly created PAC Fight Right, which appears to be taking over DeSantis’s television ads. Never Back Down is reportedly sticking to door-knocking operations, as the governor’s presidential campaign fails to see any significant movement in DeSantis’s direction in the polls. However, DeSantis has been, in the past, tied to the hip of the PAC.

Per the AP:

DeSantis’ campaign has relied heavily on Never Back Down for basic campaign functions, though the two sides cannot directly coordinate under federal campaign finance rules. Of the 99 counties DeSantis visited in Iowa, he appeared in 92 of them at Never Back Down events, according to the group’s schedule.

All the while, the DeSantis campaign has come under scrutiny for one of his latest Iowa endorsements, winning over Bob Vander Plaats, a top evangelical leader in Iowa, who confirmed a report that his organization received a $95,000 payment the “DeSantis campaign, a super PAC linked to him and a nonprofit group” prior to his official endorsement of DeSantis, according to Reuters.

“Bob Vander Plaats, the former High School Accountant from Iowa, will do anything to win, something which he hasn’t done in many years,” former President Donald Trump said in a Truth Social statement, following the news.

“He’s more known for scamming Candidates than he is for Victory, but now he’s going around using Disinformation from the Champions of that Art, the Democrats. I don’t believe anything Bob Vander Plaats says. Anyone who would take $95,000, and then endorse a Candidate who is going nowhere, is not what Elections are all about!” he exclaimed.

All of this comes as DeSantis remains 29.7 points behind in Iowa, 38 points behind in New Hampshire, and 38.8 points behind in South Carolina, according to Monday’s RealClearPolitics (RCP) averages.


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