Major DeSantis Contributor Considers Withdrawing Campaign Support

The top donor to Gov. Ron DeSantis’ (R-FL) presidential campaign warns of halting contributions unless campaign adjustments occur.

Robert Bigelow, a multimillionaire and Budget Suites of America owner, has given more than $20 million to the Never Back Down PAC, the primary super PAC backing DeSantis’ campaign.

This constitutes about two-thirds of the PAC’s fundraising in the first half of 2023. Bigelow announced on Friday that he would cease funding DeSantis’ campaign until a more moderate policy approach is adopted.

Bigelow commented about DeSantis’ campaign strategy, “He does need to shift to get to moderates. He’ll lose if he doesn’t. Extremism isn’t going to get you elected.”

Bigelow said he wouldn’t donate any more money to the DeSantis campaign until he sees DeSantis is “able to generate more on his own. I’m already too big a percentage.”

In 2022, Bigelow had formerly donated $10 million to DeSantis’ Florida gubernatorial reelection campaign, surpassing all his received donations.

Time Magazine quoted Bigelow stating at the time that he would “give him more money and go without food,” emphasizing his unwavering support for DeSantis.

Expressing his reservations about DeSantis’ campaign, Bigelow voiced his disapproval of Florida’s adoption of a “heartbeat” abortion law in April. This law prohibits pregnancy termination in the state after a fetal heartbeat is detectable, typically around six weeks into pregnancy. Bigelow argued that this threshold was excessively early and restricted abortions even before many women were aware of their pregnancy.

However, Bigelow emphasized that he still considers DeSantis, the “best guy for the country.”

In May, Andy Sabin, the proprietor of a metals manufacturing firm and another significant donor, declared his intention to stop endorsing DeSantis’ campaign due to concerns about abortion-related matters. Sabin conveyed in a distinct interview with Reuters, “I don’t believe his stance on abortion aligns well with winning a national election.”

Numerous conservative and religious organizations, including Susan B. Anthony Pro-Life America, Concerned Women for America and the Catholic Church, firmly oppose all abortions. They have urged DeSantis’ campaign to adopt more resolute anti-abortion positions.

DeSantis has chosen to center his campaign around socially conservative policies encompassing gender education and abortion.

Another facet of Bigelow’s critique concerned the waning attraction of donors towards bolstering DeSantis’ candidacy. Politico reported that a number of affluent GOP donors, including hedge fund manager Ken Griffin and investor Jeffrey Yass, have retracted their backing for DeSantis due to his conservative stances.

In addition, notable billionaires like Steve Schwarzman, the founder of Blackstone, have chosen not to extend their support to him.

Presently, DeSantis holds a 15.7% backing in the Republican presidential primary nationwide. Meanwhile, former President Donald Trump commands 53.7% support.