Watch CBS News

CEO of DeSantis super PAC resigns

Iowa evangelical leader endorses DeSantis
Evangelical leader Bob Vander Plaats endorses Ron DeSantis for president 04:31

Chris Jankowski, the CEO of the main super PAC backing Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis' presidential run, has resigned. Jankowski confirmed to CBS News that he sent a resignation to the Never Back Down PAC's board and that it was effective immediately. 

Jankowski's resignation was first reported by The New York Times

His resignation comes amid reports of turmoil between the PAC and DeSantis' campaign brass, with the latest flare-up coming after attack ads from the PAC on former United Nations ambassador Nikki Haley backfired against DeSantis in polling, according to NBC News. 

During a meeting last week at the super PAC's Atlanta headquarters, a tense moment between Never Back Down strategist Jeff Roe and longtime supporter Scott Wagner turned into a shouting match over the direction of the super PAC, according to sources familiar with the incident. Allies of DeSantis have been critical of how the super PAC has been run, the sources said. 

DeSantis has anchored his campaign's prospects in Iowa, but he has consistently trailed former President Donald Trump in polling and is in a battle with Haley for second place. 

"Never Back Down's main goal and sole focus has been to elect Governor Ron DeSantis as President. Given the current environment it has become untenable for me to deliver on the shared goal and that goes well beyond a difference of strategic opinion," Jankowski wrote in a statement to CBS News. 

"For the future of our country I support and pray Ron DeSantis is our 47th president," he added. 

Historically, super PACs have been utilized to run TV advertising for a candidate due to their lack of federal limits on fundraising. However, federal election laws prohibit direct coordination between a super PAC and the campaign. 

Never Back Down has had an outsized role in DeSantis' campaign operations, often hosting him as a "special guest" on its bus tour for events and running a grassroots door-knocking operation in support of him in the early states. 

But in response to the reported internal disagreements over the PAC's strategy, a new outside group, Fight Right, was recently created by three Florida allies of the governor and spent just under $1 million on ads in Iowa attacking Haley, according to AdImpact and records with the Federal Election Commission.

View CBS News In
CBS News App Open
Chrome Safari Continue
Be the first to know
Get browser notifications for breaking news, live events, and exclusive reporting.