CEDAR RAPIDS, Iowa – Never Back Down is the main super PAC supporting Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis.‘ The presidential campaign installed its third CEO in less than two weeks on Friday, according to five people familiar with the latest development in the slow-motion shakeup.
Scott Wagner, a longtime DeSantis loyalist, took over as president and CEO of the super PAC. Two people familiar with the move said Wagner will serve as CEO in an interim capacity.
Wagner replaces interim CEO Christine Davison, who was let go, the sources said. Davison, a key strategist for Never Back Down since its inception, lasted nine days on the job after the original CEO. Chris Jankowski, He resigned at the end of last month.
Davison did not respond to NBC News’ request for comment. Erin Perrin, a spokeswoman for Never Back Down, did not return a phone call seeking comment. His profile on social media site X does not mention Never Back Down.
The Never Back Down switch at the top was reported first Politics Saturday night.
Super PAC behind the scenes Staff moves don’t usually attract much attention. But Never Back Down – launched before DeSantis entered the campaign Funded by transfers from his Florida political account Contributions from his high-profile donors — played a large role in DeSantis’ bid for president, often overshadowing the official campaign.
And The chaos at the super PAC reflects frustration in DeSantis’ orbit, failing to gain traction in the Republican primary.
He is second only to former President Donald Trump in the national polls and is now trying to unseat former South Carolina Gov. Nikki Haley before the first-ever caucuses in Iowa.es January 15. Several polls show Haley in second place in New Hampshire and South Carolina.
On November 21, NBC News revealed a fight between Wagner and Never Back Down advisor Jeff Roe that nearly turned physical.
“You’ve got a stick — Scott,” Roe told Wagner, then a member of the Never Back Down group.
“Why don’t you come over here and take it?” Wagner responded as he rose from his chair, a person in the room said. Wagner was eventually restrained by fellow crew members.
But Wagner has the upper hand in Never Back Down — and for what it’s worth. DeSantis’ disillusionment with the super PAC led to the creation last month of a second super PAC, Fight Rite, which is now being handled externally. Advertising boosts his campaign. Davison’s departure is a clear blow to Rowe’s influence, as he was a top associate at his company, Axiom, before joining Never Back Down as its chief operating officer.
DeSantis wrapped up a 99-county tour of Iowa on Saturday that was underwritten by Never Back Down and carried mostly on a super PAC-branded bus.
Dasha Burns reports from Cedar Rapids; Matt Dixon reported from Tallahassee, Florida; Jonathan Allen reported from Tilghman, Maryland.
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