Although Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis has settled into a fairly consistent second-place spot thus far in the 2024 GOP presidential campaign, he has failed to chip away support from the front-runner in the race, former President Donald Trump.
Despite benefiting from deep-pocket donors to the Never Back Down PAC, which operates on behalf of his campaign, a recent polling average shows Trump with 53.3% of support and DeSantis settling in 39 points behind him.
The governor’s lackluster performance has led the super PAC’s biggest donor to reconsider his support.
After contributing more than $20 million, which is roughly two-thirds of what the committee has raised in the first half of this year, Robert Bieglow offered a disapproving assessment of the candidate’s campaign.
“He does need to shift to get to moderates,” said Bigelow, who owns the Budget Suites of America extended-stay apartment chain.
Advising that DeSantis’ platform is alienating to all but far-right voters, he added: “Extremism isn’t going to get you elected.”
Furthermore, Bigelow expressed frustration with the governor’s fundraising track record, asserting that he is “already too big a percentage” of the overall donations and that he would refrain from further donations “until [he sees] that [DeSantis] is able to generate more on his own.”
Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis needs to make major changes to his 2024 GOP presidential campaign before his top donor, billionaire Robert Bigelow, provides another cent. "He'll lose if he doesn't," Bigelow emphasized. "Extremism isn't going to get you elected." https://t.co/Nbhr7HeCtx pic.twitter.com/92HJIrvl4y
— NEWSMAX (@NEWSMAX) August 5, 2023
His latest reaction is a far cry from the stance he took ahead of DeSantis’ decisive re-election victory last year. During that campaign, Bigelow donated $10 million and asserted that he would “give him more and go without food” in order to secure another term in the governor’s mansion.
Although Bigelow still believes that DeSanits is the “best guy for the country,” he has expressed specific concerns about the candidate’s hard-line abortion policy.
The issue has also been a sticking point for another former DeSantis donor, Andy Sabin, who confirmed earlier this year that he would no longer be supporting the campaign, adding: “I don’t think he can win a national election with his viewpoint on abortion.”
Neither DeSantis nor the Never Back Down PAC immediately responded to the announcement from Bigelow, but he confirmed that he expressed his concerns to Generra Peck, the candidate’s campaign manager.
“There was a long period of silence where I thought maybe she had passed out,” Bigelow recalled. “But I think she took it all in.”