Gov. Ron DeSantis of Florida finishes an interview with Fox News host Sean Hannity after the first GOP presidential primary debate in Milwaukee.
AP Photo/Morry Gash
Never Back Down is looking to reverse DeSantis’ presidential campaign slump with a sizable ad buy.
The $25 million blitz will be focused on the early-nominating states of Iowa and New Hampshire.
DeSantis has promoted his conservative record on the trail, but Trump continues to dominate the GOP race.
Never Back Down — the super PAC aligned with Ron DeSantis — is preparing to purchase at least $25 million in television advertising in Iowa and New Hampshire in September and October as the group looks to reverse earlier stumbles in the Florida governor’s bid for the White House, according to The Washington Post.
While DeSantis entered the race in May as the candidate most likely to dethrone former President Donald Trump from the top of the GOP pecking order, that has so far not been the case, as the ex-president continues to dominate in national and statewide polling even with four indictments looming in the background. And in some polls, DeSantis is pulling just as much support from GOP voters as first-time candidate and entrepreneur Vivek Ramaswamy.
Top officials for Never Back Down, who were encouraged by DeSantis’ debate performance on Wednesday, outlined their strategy at a lunch shortly before the debate, according to The Post.
The initial $13 million in spending is set to be reserved this week, while additional purchases will be made for ads in New Hampshire at a later time, per the newspaper.
Kristin Davison, the chief operating officer of Never Back Down, told The Post in a statement that the television ad buy could exceed the $25 million mark as the group continues to examine voter opinion from earlier ad buys.
“After preseason dominance and a complete debate victory by Gov. DeSantis, we are now running aggressively into the political season while others are playing catch-up,” Davison said.
Backers of DeSantis are hoping that the Florida governor’s debate performance will reinvigorate his campaign, as he has struggled to slow down Trump’s march toward a potential third GOP presidential nomination. Such a development would also be welcome news amid headlines about layoffs and campaign shakeups in the DeSantis campaign.
Last month, Trump mocked DeSantis’ political standing at the Turning Point Action Conference in south Florida and suggested that the governor’s candidacy was preventing the GOP from coalescing around his campaign in their efforts to defeat President Joe Biden next year.
“We are totally dominating DeSanctus right here in the state of Florida,” Trump said at the time, mispronouncing the governor’s last name. “DeSanctimonious and his establishment handlers are wasting such precious time and resources to divide our party. They’re dividing the party, although he’s dropping so quickly he’s probably not going to be in second place much longer.”
In the FiveThirtyEight average of national Republican presidential polls, Trump sits at 52%, well ahead of DeSantis (averaging 14.7% support) and Ramaswamy (averaging 9.9% support).