Sunday, September 03, 2023

ANNALS OF DeSANTISTAN: More strategy leaks spring from Ron DeSantis super PAC (By A.G. Gancarski, Florida Politics, September 1, 2023)

Our former Congressman (2013-2018) from St. Johns County has outsourced its campaign to a PAC. Sort of reminds me of when our City of St. Augustine outsourced the 450th anniversary celebration to a non-profit,  First America Foundation, a Sunshine and Open Records violation, remedied when eighteen of us retained the pro bono services of the law firm of Holland & Knight.  Fun fact: DeSantis was an associate with H&K before he ran for Congress.

More strategy leaks spring from Ron DeSantis super PAC By A.G. Gancarski, Florida Politics, September 1, 2023

Never Back Down' never stops leaking.

Gov. Ron DeSantis prides himself on an administration that doesn’t leak, but his presidential super PAC is another matter.

Per CNN, audio from Never Back Down shows an operation that was candid about its cash crunch with deep-pocketed donors ahead of last month’s GOP presidential debate in Milwaukee.

“We just need your help getting $50 million more by the end of the year, and $100 million more by the end of March,” Never Back Down CEO Chris Jankowskicajoled. “I’m not worried about the second 50. We need the first 50.”

The pitch was rooted in a concept called the “DeSantis Index,” summed up by strategist Jeff Roe like this: “If you have an education, if you have higher income, if you read the Bible and if you go to church regularly, you happen to be a DeSantis supporter.”

One concern of the super PAC: earned media for the former President.

Donald Trump probably gets roughly at least $30 million of earned media every single day. We’re No. 2, with roughly $5 (million) to $6 million every single day. Where you see the spikes are after every indictment,” COO Kristin Davison said.

“After every indictment, it goes up to $100 million of earned media, and in a presidential race, no news is bad news. What we really learned in 2016 is that Donald Trump dominated earned media and we see it happening now.”

The latest peek behind the curtain of the super PAC, which absorbed $82.5 million from the former state-level Friends of Ron DeSantis political committee, reveals an operation seemingly content with telegraphing its strategy to the world. Before that same debate, a strategy memo emerged from Roe, outlining an approach to the debate DeSantis ultimately didn’t embrace on stage.

DeSantis was urged to go on the attack against President Joe Biden, the “media,” and two opponents who are threatening his position in opinion surveys.

“Hammer Vivek Ramaswamy in a response,” the memo compels. “Defend Donald Trump in absentia in response to a Chris Christie attack.”

The memo invoked Roger Ailes’ “Orchestra Pit Theory,” which contends the press will focus on “pictures, mistakes and attacks.”

“Potential Orchestra Pit Moments” include taking a “sledge-hammer to Vivek Ramaswamy,” the memo contends, calling him ‘Fake Vivek’ Or ‘Vivek the Fake.’”

The scripted response to Christie likewise seeks to undermine him: “Trump isn’t here so let’s just leave him alone. He’s too weak to defend himself here. We’re all running against him. I don’t think we want to join forces with someone on this stage who’s auditioning for a show on MSNBC.”

It’s not just the super PAC that has leaked, meanwhile. Audio emerged from a donor pitch from the campaign itself this spring. Among the revelations was that DeSantis’ hard line on abortion in Florida, where he signed a ban on the procedure after six weeks of pregnancy in most cases, was something he was willing to jettison for less socially conservative audiences.

“His position is while he understands that there are ways that the federal government can be helpful to preserve life,” pollster Ryan Tyson said, “the best way that you will preserve life is at the state level.”


Jacob Ogles of Florida Politics contributed to this report.

A.G. Gancarski

A.G. Gancarski has written for since 2014. He is based in Northeast Florida. He can be reached at or on Twitter: @AGGancarski

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Ramaswamy pointed out that the USA was experiencing a mental health epidemic. Surprised that someone finally came out and said it... but of course the GOP will be the last ones to solve these problems because problems cost money to solve. That's about as far as things go with conservatives. Willing to tolerate problems to no end so long as they don't have to pay more taxes.