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Ron DeSantis and His Super PAC Spent $160 Million on His Campaign, Averaging $7,100 Per Vote!


CNS NewsRon DeSantis’ presidential campaign and super PAC Never Back Down spent over $160 million. Governor and Never Back Down channeled $53 million through Jeff Roe’s businesses, the group’s chief consultant and Republican strategist. Between campaign and super PAC, they spent $31.3 million on TV ads and $3.3 million on private jets.

Nearly $110,000 was donated to state and federal elected officials who favored DeSantis. All 23,420 Iowa votes. Never Back Down spent $130 million and DeSantis’s campaign $28 million. This pricey failure yielded minor consequences, so DeSantis dropped out before the New Hampshire primary and endorsed Trump.

Their activities stretched campaign finance legislation. Though campaigns and super PACs cannot coordinate plans, Never Back Down managed the Florida governor’s campaign uniquely. This outside group took over numerous campaign tasks, including event planning and get-out-the-vote activities, from DeSantis.

Super PAC executives made key decisions, not DeSantis’s valued advisers. Never Back Down and the campaign clashed, causing negative press articles that overshadowed the governor’s candidacy, especially among rich donors. When DeSantis entered the race in late May 2023, Never Back Down had approximately $120 million, including over $80 million from the former candidate’s re-election as governor.

Ron DeSantis and His Super PAC Spent $160 Million on His Campaign, Averaging $7,100 per Vote!

Over $20 million was raised in his first six weeks as a contender. Super PACs allow the ultrawealthy to support candidates because donors can give unlimited amounts. Never Back Down planned a $100 million outreach campaign to organize votes nationwide, including paid door-knockers in early primary states to engage potential DeSantis voters.

The super PAC pledged $200 million. The governor started flying private planes in Tallahassee and insisted on it. A candidate without independent resources could not sustain this habit. His campaign overspent in the first weeks, forcing a reorganization and substantial staff cuts in July 2023.

Records show that Never Back Down, which was also spending a lot, paid for DeSantis’s trips. Roe was important to DeSantis’ campaign. He sometimes brought negative attention to the campaign and was mocked by Trump surrogates. He quit Never Back Down in December 2023, when it folded.

Never Back Down privately gave $2.75 million to Win It Back, a conservative anti-tax super PAC endorsed by Club for Growth. Win It Back ran anti-Trump ads around this period. Until DeSantis dropped out, this contribution was unknown. Win It Back removed the commercials after discovering Republican voters disliked them.

Ron DeSantis and His Super PAC Spent $160 Million on His Campaign, Averaging $7,100 per Vote!

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Another group, Great American Comeback, was utilized to thank legislators who endorsed DeSantis at the risk of angering Trump. These officials received over $110,000 in donations. Contributions went to more than 12 Iowa legislators. Despite all, DeSantis’s fundraising slowed while his poll numbers dropped and his campaign weaknesses increased.

In 2023, DeSantis’s campaign raised less each quarter. Never Back Down raised $14.5 million in the second half of this year. DeSantis accused Trump of “massive gaslighting” but dropped out weeks later. Never Back Down officials were out of step with DeSantis’ campaign and quit or were fired.

Ron DeSantis and His Super PAC Spent $160 Million on His Campaign, Averaging $7,100 per Vote!

The super PAC’s top strategists swore and nearly fought in private sessions. DeSantis vetoed a state assembly bill that would have Florida taxpayers pay for his legal fees the day after he dropped out and endorsed Trump. He threatened to veto Republican State Sen. Ileana Garcia’s bill to spend $5 million from Florida’s budget on Trump’s legal fees.

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