Jeff Roe, the lead strategist for the pro-DeSantis super PAC Never Back Down, announced his immediate resignation on Saturday, citing a need to eliminate distractions for Governor Ron DeSantis’s campaign.
This resignation comes amidst internal discord within the super PAC.
Internal chaos and super PAC reshuffling
Recent weeks saw an upheaval in Never Back Down, marked by the departure of three top officials and the emergence of a new Tallahassee-based pro-DeSantis super PAC, Fight Right.
Chris Jankowski, Never Back Down’s CEO and board chairman, former Nevada Attorney General Adam Laxalt, resigned in November.
Jankowski resigns over deep issues, interim successor fired
Jankowski’s resignation alluded to deep-seated issues, stating they went “well beyond a difference of strategic opinion.”
His interim replacement, Kristin Davison, along with two other officials, was subsequently fired.
Roe quits following Wagner’s remarks on PAC issues
Roe’s resignation follows comments made by Scott Wagner, the new chairman of the PAC, to The Washington Post.
Wagner’s remarks about “mismanagement and conduct issues” led to the termination of senior officials.
Roe cites MLK Jr. in resignation from never back down PAC
Roe expressed his disappointment on X, quoting Martin Luther King, Jr.: “The ultimate measure of a man is not where he stands in moments of comfort and convenience, but where he stands in times of challenge and controversy.”
He added, “I cannot in good conscience stay affiliated with Never Back Down given the statements in the Washington Post today. They are not true and an unwanted distraction at a critical time for Governor DeSantis.”
Legal dispute and Wagner’s revised statement
A lawyer representing the terminated employees challenged Wagner’s initial statement, labeling it “categorically false.”
Wagner then sent a modified statement to The Post, softening his earlier assertions about mismanagement and unauthorized leaks.
Roe’s departure and future plans for the PAC
In his farewell message, Roe conveyed his pride in the team he helped build and their role in strengthening DeSantis’s campaign position.
He expressed hope for DeSantis to become the next President of the United States. Meanwhile, The Post reports that Phil Cox, a longtime DeSantis adviser, is expected to take over as chief strategist for the PAC.
Trump’s reaction to Roe’s resignation
Donald Trump, the GOP frontrunner who leads DeSantis in multiple polls, responded to Roe’s resignation on Truth Social, implying the end of DeSantis’s campaign: “Jeff Roe is out—GAME OVER for DeSanctimonious!” he said.
A shift in campaign dynamics
Jeff Roe’s resignation from Never Back Down marks a significant shift in the dynamics of DeSantis’s campaign.
The internal struggles within the super PAC, coupled with Roe’s departure and Trump’s subsequent comments, indicate a turbulent phase in the GOP’s political landscape as the Iowa caucus approaches.