Ann Turner
August 6, 2023

Desantis' top donor halts funding after $20M effort

Florida Governor Ron DeSantis' primary campaign backer, Robert Bigelow, has announced a pause in his funding, pushing for a strategic reevaluation of DeSantis' presidential bid.

A report from the New York Post indicated that Bigelow, who has established his success in the hotel industry and is the founder of Bigelow Aerospace, has previously infused a whopping $20 million into the DeSantis-supporting "Never Back Down" super PAC.

His decision to stop further donations appears to be driven by the campaign's inability to surpass the formidable presence of former President Trump in the GOP primary stakes.

Bigelow's financial contribution to DeSantis' campaign has been paramount, significantly outdoing other donors. His recent move to suspend additional donations might drastically impact the financial stability of the campaign.

Comparing Bigelow's donations to those of other contributors

When compared to the contributions of other backers, Bigelow's $20 million donation makes up a substantial portion of the campaign's funding.

Douglas Leone, a venture capitalist, comes next with a donation of $2 million as per the campaign filings. Bigelow's decision to withhold further contributions might lead to an uncertain financial future for the campaign.

Furthermore, Bigelow expressed his discomfort at his contributions forming a large chunk of the campaign's total funds. This move is indicative of his urge for DeSantis to generate more support independently and attract more active involvement from other donors.

He even went on to say that "a lot of his donors are still on the fence," reflecting the need for broader support for the campaign.

An overview of DeSantis' poll standing amidst funding concerns

Despite consistently placing second among other potential GOP alternatives, DeSantis has been unsuccessful in breaking through Trump's popularity.

With more than 50% of Republican primary voters continuing to back Trump, DeSantis' breakthrough seems increasingly difficult.

Bigelow points out that DeSantis needs to appeal to moderates and avoid extreme measures to win their support. He believes that a failure to do so could lead to DeSantis' loss, noting that "extremism isn’t going to get you elected."

He specifically pinpointed DeSantis' April decision to enforce a six-week abortion ban as a significant blunder, which he suggests might have repelled moderate voters.

Bigelow conveys his worries to DeSantis

Bigelow made it clear that he has shared these concerns with DeSantis, emphasizing the need for a major overhaul in the governor's campaign strategy. Although he has expressed criticism, he has left the door open for possible future contributions.

He stated that he would reconsider his decision "when I see that he’s able to generate more on his own." This can be seen as a challenge for DeSantis to display his capability to attract a more diverse group of donors and a broader voter base.

The representatives for the "Never Back Down" super PAC did not respond to requests for comments regarding Bigelow's statement.

Potential repercussions of Bigelow's donation cessation

The consequences of Bigelow's decision on DeSantis' campaign remain to be seen. With Bigelow's financial aid currently paused, the campaign may face a significant void, and addressing this promptly to maintain its operations is imperative.

Attracting other donors and diversifying their supporter base might be necessary to bridge this financial gap and address the concerns of current donors like Bigelow.

Without a doubt, the campaign's future trajectory will be significantly influenced by how it navigates this development and addresses the critiques from its main contributor.

In conclusion

  • Florida Governor Ron DeSantis' presidential campaign's largest donor, Robert Bigelow, has decided to suspend further contributions.
  • Bigelow's $20 million donation to the "Never Back Down" super PAC significantly overshadows other contributions.
  • He has voiced concerns over the campaign's ability to gather independent support and appeal to moderate voters.
  • Bigelow has communicated these concerns to DeSantis and has urged a strategic reshaping of the campaign.
  • The consequences of Bigelow's decision on the campaign's financial footing and direction remain uncertain.

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