Laxalt Flees DeSantis. How Many Death Knells Before He Gives Up?

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It took forever and a day for George Santos to be expelled from the House but it finally happened. Now the next political catastrophe that needs to be resolved is the presidential run of Ron DeSantis. The latest development there is DeSantis’ old roommate and the former attorney general of Nevada, Adam Laxalt, has resigned. This is the second high profile resignation in a week, the first being campaign executive Chris Jankowski who quit on the spot, citing strategic differences in vision.

The timing is interesting. Laxalt left the day after DeSantis’ ridiculous Fox News debate with Gavin Newsom. I’m willing to bet on a couple of things: 1. Laxalt leveled with DeSantis about how gawd awful he was at the debate last night and DeSantis didn’t take that kindly; 2. Never Back Down is barred by law from officially coordinating with the DeSantis campaign, but it paid for the governor’s private flights, anyhow. 

3. It wasn’t a good sign that the Koch brothers decided that Nikki Haley is their new bright and shining star, and not Ron. Put all these things together and it’s quite a stink bomb. Let’s just put it this way: if you can think of a successful presidential campaign where two main players quit six weeks before the Iowa Caucus, after the candidate has slid in the polls consistently for the past year, and GOP mega-donors have written checks to somebody else, would you let us know, please? Better yet, give DeSantis a call, he needs the information a lot worse than we do. We’re merely curious. He’s the one with the campaign that’s dying on its feet. Washington Post:

Ron DeSantis’s presidential bid is facing extraordinary turmoil approximately six weeks before the Iowa caucuses, with internal disputes erupting into public view as Republicans eager to stop Donald Trump increasingly pin their hopes on a rival contender.

The chairman and CEO of the super PAC running much of DeSantis’s operation have both stepped down in recent days after other allies of the governor took the unusual step of starting another super PAC late in the race. The vast political network led by Charles Koch — once drawn to DeSantis — endorsed Nikki Haley as it looks to stop Trump, promising the support of its ready-made field program. Some senior campaign aides are increasingly gloomy about their chances, according to a person close to DeSantis. “People increasingly think it’s over. It’s a dumpster fire,” said the person, who like others spoke on the condition of anonymity to discuss private conversations. […]

DeSantis’s team argues that only he can peel away enough Trump supporters to compete, and often point out that the former president is spending against DeSantis rather than Haley. DeSantis has focused intensively on Iowa, where he is about to hit all 99 counties and has high-profile surrogates, including Gov. Kim Reynolds (R) and evangelical leader Bob Vander Plaats. On Friday, DeSantis’s supporters were jubilant about his Fox News debate the night before with California Gov. Gavin Newsom (D), billed as a “Red vs. Blue State” clash.

This is delusional. DeSantis made an ass out of himself on Fox News last night. But even if he had not, sewing up Iowa is not the end all and be all. And he my have sewn up Iowa. So did Ted Cruz in 2016 and you know what happened there. DeSantis is 40 points down in his home state of Florida, as Governor Newsom pointed out last night. That comment was met with crickets from DeSantis.

Now this you’re going to love. Look sharp, now. This next move is not only desperate, I’m going to bet its legality is questionable, or is it just coincidence that Jankowski and Laxalt bailed when Fight Right reared its head?

Jankowksi and Laxalt left shortly after close DeSantis allies set up a new super PAC and nonprofit called Fight Right, which last week began running ads attacking Haley for her comments on Hillary Clinton. There were initial concerns raised about the legal independence of the new group and whether the transfer of money from NBD followed legal compliance. Ken Cuccinelli, an NBD board member and former attorney general of Virginia, wrote in an email first reported by NBC News that he found the funding of some of the ads against Haley to be “exceedingly objectionable” and asked for his concerns to be preserved in records of the board.

Some DeSantis allies say there were concerns that Never Back Down is so closely associated with the governor that its negative ads hurt him. But the campaign is now publicly embracing Fight Right, and many view the group as an effort to put ad money under new control.

Gee, we’re sure glad that the ad money is going to be under new control. The last time we were this glad was when the nice stewards on the Titanic decided to rearrange the deck chairs and play pretty music to cheer everybody up.

Here’s what will probably happen. All of DeSantis’ eggs are in one basket, Iowa. If he does win there, he’s going to cheer and crow and go all koo koo. That’s virtually assured. But New Hampshire and South Carolina are going to say a lot, as well. And if DeSantis can’t win in Iowa, then he is flat out nuts if he doesn’t drop out right away.

Let’s just watch what happens. The Koch brothers made a definitive statement in endorsing Haley. DeSantis doesn’t want to hear it, he’s too in love with his delusion. So while we don’t know exactly what will happen next, it’s safe to say that DeSantis is committed to dragging all this out to the most bitter of ends.

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3 COMMENTS

  1. If DeSantis can’t win in his own state, Florida, what does he think will happen in South Carolina? I’m pretty sure Haley should have that state wrapped up. Just my opinion.

  2. Koch’s Americans for Prosperity are as anti-MAGA big money you can get. And a Ramaswamy campaign top official jumped THAT sinking ship too. Flotilla of wrecked campaigns. It will be Haley VS Trump. With Christy eventually endorsing Haley.

    • I don’t know…Christie IS a “republican”, therefore if he thinks endorsing trumpleforeskin will benefit HIM, that’s PRECISELY what he will do. Trashing Orange Jesus now gives him the ONLY relevance he has and that puts his ugly face out front and center, likely putting coin in his coffers. Once OJ has it locked, if he promises Christie anything worth his while, watch for the whirlwind reversal and gushing praise for the mango Mussolini.

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