A super PAC set up to back Republican Florida Governor and GOP candidate Ron DeSantis has closed after donors backed out because of ‘rookie s**t’ mistakes, while its founder announced he would switch to Trump.
Republican strategist John Thomas set up ‘Ron to the Rescue’ in November, securing financial commitments from mega-wealthy donors.
The Twitter Spaces disaster saw DeSantis being interviewed by Elon Musk, but the feed repeatedly cut out, making the campaign appear incompetent.
“We were hoping to do like a formal TV campaign of air support when DeSantis officially launched,” Thomas told the Daily Mail.
“But the problem with that is with the Twitter Spaces blunder, like almost from the get-go, all of our major donors said, “let’s just see how this plays out.”
“There is one singular important thing every national presidential candidate must do on their launch day, which is provide video to give to the television stations to project optically what your vision is for the future,” he added.
Thomas described other incidents, such as posting internal documents on the internet and agreeing to debate California governor Gavin Newsom, as ‘rookie s**t’ errors, the Daily Mail reports.
The strategist worked on races in 49 states and had a swath of donors who wanted to put up “seven- and eight-figure support” for DeSantis.
But the Super PAC only spent around $20,000 on grassroots efforts for DeSantis.
“There was never any moment that gave donors any encouragement, like “well now is the time.'” So everything just kind of dried up,” said Thomas.
Earlier this month, a major DeSantis donor, hotel entrepreneur Robert Bigelow, announced he would not donate any more than the $20 million he had already given to the Florida governor unless he adopted a more moderate approach.
Thomas said he is figuring out how to help raise money for former president Trump in his campaign.
“We’re going to see after the reporting period of September 30 how Trump’s cash on hand is, and then we’re going to try to determine where we can fill in gaps if it’s needed,” said Thomas.
Thomas supported Trump in 2016 and 2020 but jumped ship and founded ‘Ron to the Rescue’ after Republicans’ lackluster showing in the midterms in November 2022.
“When Trump launched his campaign really early, it was kind of fizzling out. There really wasn’t much enthusiasm wrapped around it. It was weird, in the sense of like, wow, this former party leader is just not getting a lot of attention,” said Thomas.
“And DeSantis missed, we think, the announcement window when voters were going to be receptive to a change.”
He said Trump “has demonstrated a level of campaign savvy and discipline that I didn’t see from him in 2020 that I didn’t see from them in 2016.”