The national campaign director for Reagan was one of DeSantis’ staunchest allies in 2022.
He even created a PAC designed to get DeSantis to run for president.
Now, he says DeSantis is a “very flawed candidate” who “clearly doesn’t understand the game.”
The Republican strategist behind a PAC devoted to getting Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis to run for president has split with the group after shifting his stance on the candidate, according to Rolling Stone.
Ed Rollins, who was the national campaign director for former President Ronald Reagan’s 1984 presidential campaign, created the “Ready for Ron” political action committee (now known as “Ready to Win”) in May 2022 with the express purpose of pushing DeSantis to run for office.
But just over a year later as DeSantis lags far behind former President Donald Trump in Republican primary polls, Rollins no longer thinks DeSantis is best suited to defeat the 45th president.
“I don’t think it’s the campaign’s fault at all; it’s his. I think he’s been a very flawed candidate. I know some of the people around him, and some of them are good, talented people. But every time he opens his mouth, he has a tendency to — shall we say — think out-loud, and he clearly doesn’t understand the game,” Rollins told Rolling Stone. “When you get into these culture wars the way that he has, the vast majority of people don’t understand what they are.
Through his PAC, Rollins, who previously wrote that “DeSantis is as skilled a politician as he is authoritative on public policy,” helped raise $1.85 million to support DeSantis. While he was a part of it, the PAC tried to give DeSantis’ presidential campaign a petition containing the names and contact information of up to a million people interested in him running for president, an action that was ultimately shut down by a federal judge as it would have violated campaign finance laws.
Rollins exited the PAC at a time when DeSantis is trailing Trump in Republican primary polling by 37 percentage points, according to a recent New York Times survey. Part of that, the survey found, can likely be attributed to the governor’s insistence on fighting “wokeness,” as 52 percent of GOP likely voters in the primary election said they’d rather support a candidate who thinks the “government should stay out of deciding what corporations can support”
The New York Times poll also found that a majority of likely Republican voters simply think that Trump is much more of a “fun” candidate than DeSantis.
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