Title: Major Donor Withdraws Support from Florida Governor DeSantis Amidst Abortion Controversy
Subtitle: Robert Bigelow’s decision to halt campaign donations raises concerns for DeSantis’ re-election bid.
In a surprising turn of events, Robert Bigelow, the largest donor to Florida Governor Ron DeSantis, announced that he will no longer be supporting the governor’s campaign due to DeSantis’s perceived extremism on abortion. Bigelow, who had previously donated a substantial $20 million to a super PAC supporting DeSantis, voiced his concerns over the governor’s stance on abortion, stating that it goes against his personal beliefs.
Bigelow’s change of heart came after DeSantis signed a bill that banned abortions after six weeks, a move that Bigelow strongly disagrees with. He firmly believes that DeSantis must adopt a more moderate stance on the issue if he wishes to appeal to a wider range of voters. “Extremism isn’t going to get you elected,” Bigelow emphasized.
Expressing his frustrations, Bigelow revealed that he had voiced his concerns directly to the DeSantis campaign but felt that they were not taken seriously. This lack of response further solidified his decision to withdraw financial support.
The impact of Bigelow’s decision cannot be understated. His $20 million donation was ten times larger than that of the second-largest donor. However, despite this setback, the super PAC supporting DeSantis still maintains a substantial war chest of nearly $100 million, while the official campaign faces financial difficulties.
Interestingly, the Never Back Down PAC has taken on responsibilities traditionally reserved for an official campaign, raising concerns about coordination with the candidate. Critics argue that this blurring of lines may undermine campaign financing regulations and transparency.
Moreover, DeSantis has been facing challenges from top Republican donors who are disappointed with his underwhelming polling numbers and purported lackluster campaign management. Recent polls indicate that DeSantis trails former President Donald Trump by a significant gap of almost 40 points in primary polls.
In response to Bigelow’s withdrawal of support, DeSantis’s campaign remained evasive. Their statement to Reuters did not directly address his comments or the loss of such a prominent donor. This lack of acknowledgment suggests that the campaign may be struggling to handle these recent developments.
Bigelow firmly emphasized that he will not resume donating until DeSantis can generate more support independently. This may signal a turning point for DeSantis’ campaign, which now faces the challenge of restoring confidence and attracting new, influential donors. The episode highlights the delicate nature of campaign financing and the importance of maintaining support from key backers as the election inches closer.
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