OMG, this is funny, and I almost missed if. Oh, to be a fly on the wall and see and hear the goings on earlier today when Chris Jankowski, who was the CEO of Ron DeSantis’ Super PAC, before he sent him a handwritten note saying, “I quit,” effective immediately, as the DeSantis campaign goes into final flameout. It will not be long now, friends. You’ll read the journalistic account here, by the New York Times, which tactfully alludes to what was unquestionably out of control screaming over the latest poll showing DeSantis trailing Nikki Haley. I predicted at the time that would be the bridge of no return and by golly, this would seem to ratify that opinion. Read and laugh.
Gov. Ron DeSantis’s political orbit confronted fresh upheaval on the eve of Thanksgiving as the chief executive of the super PAC that has effectively taken over his presidential campaign resigned after days of infighting among DeSantis allies over strategy, financing and how to blunt the momentum of one of his rivals, Nikki Haley.
That chief executive, Chris Jankowski, sent a resignation note on Wednesday to the board of Never Back Down, which has been the main pro-DeSantis super PAC. The resignation was effective immediately. In a statement from Mr. Jankowski issued by the group, he described his differences with them as “well beyond a difference of strategic opinion.”
Never Back Down, which had amassed $130 million over the summer, has played a critical role in supporting Mr. DeSantis. Mr. Jankowski’s departure caps days of internal tensions within the group over the next steps in their Republican primary race against the front-runner, Donald J. Trump, and comes seven weeks before the pivotal Iowa caucuses in January.
Presidential campaigns are legally barred from coordinating with super PACs. But the DeSantis campaign and Never Back Down have repeatedly pressed the boundaries of what super PACs usually do. […]
Since they came into existence nearly 15 years ago, super PACs have traditionally handled negative messaging and advertising against a candidate’s rival. But some DeSantis allies have come to believe that his own super PAC is too closely connected to him in the eyes of voters, and that Never Back Down’s work is a reason he is struggling in the polls. Campaign officials, meanwhile, have privately been critical of the group for running negative ads.
Some of the tensions flared last week at a strategy meeting held by Never Back Down at its Atlanta offices. The group’s main strategist, Jeff Roe, and a board member, Scott Wagner, who is a college friend of Mr. DeSantis, had a heated argument during a discussion about money, according to people briefed on the matter.
Okay, that’s the sketch of what’s going on. Here’s the gist of what happened, I think. Jankowski is well known as being very tight with Leonard Leo, who is a major GOP donor and gift giver to people like Clarence Thomas. You remember the totally idiotic ads that DeSantis used to put out? The ones with the homoerotic themes, intercut with shots of Brad Pitt as Achilles? And then the classic where marching troops approached the Nazi symbol, Sonnengrad, which dissolved in a shot with DeSantis’ face? Remember all that?
What I think happened is this: 1. DeSantis blew his campaign donation wad early in the game. That’s well documented. 2. He’s been skating on the edge of legal and illegal with how he’s been using the Super PAC funds. I think it’s reasonable to infer that Jankowski gave DeSantis an ultimatum and said, get it in gear or I walk and DeSantis met with Casey (who is the momentum behind all this) and she said “walk.” Admittedly, this is all speculation and supposition, but it is a theory that fits the facts, given what we know about the people involved and how they have conducted themselves up to this point.
Also, since Jankowski is no more with Team DeSantis, I think it’s a reasonable supposition that Leonard Leo is no more. Ouch. That guy used to write some big checks.
Here’s the bottom line: DeSantis has bet the farm on an Iowa caucus win in mid-January, 2024. That’s seven weeks from now. So that’s his focus. Somehow he sees that as his launch pad to the nomination in July.
That’s his fantasy. Even if he does win in Iowa, so did Ted Cruz in 2016. An Iowa win, or an Iowa loss, is really a signifier of nothing, if you want to get right on down to it. It’s one contest. Yes, it’s a great thing to be the candidate that gets the Iowa support going straight out of the gate. But so many people have gotten it and then flubbed or not gotten it and then rallied and later ended up in the White House — our President Biden being a sterling example of this fact.
What I think happened today is that the defection of Jankowski is an indicator that Ron DeSantis is no longer considered any kind of a serious candidate by the big money people. Not that it took anybody’s resignation to make that determination, but this is pretty much the handwriting on the wall that that’s the case.
This is going to be epic. DeSantis is one of those people who does not like to see the handwriting on the wall. He’s one of those people that proves that denial is not just a river in Egypt. He’s going to hang on until the bitter end and beyond, because his ego won’t let him quit. That’s my take on it.
I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again: I have a better shot at being crowned Miss Teenage America than DeSantis has at becoming the 47th president of the United States.