After tensions flared in DeSantis’ biggest political group, he courts donors for a reset

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Florida Gov Ron DeSantis He will meet with top-dollar Republicans this week to try to shore up support for his new political action committee, which is backing his presidential bid, campaign manager James Uttmeyer wrote in a memo Monday morning.

Fight Rite Inc. was formed this month to complement the super PAC’s efforts. Much of DeSantis’ expansion bankrolled it. He has done ground work in early voting states like Iowa and hosted the governor for dozens of events.

A Tallahassee-based super PAC affiliated with DeSantis partners Jeff Aaron, David Dewhirst and Scott Ross focuses exclusively on TV ads attacking DeSantis’ primary opponents.

“Fight Right exists for one purpose: to shine a light on the failed records and leadership of the opposition to Governor DeSantis,” its website states.

The development comes as DeSantis, Entered the competition in 2024 Widely popular among the GOP, many voters continued to embrace his rival, Donald Trump, even as Trump’s rivals struggled with stagnant poll numbers in hopes of being weakened by broader legal problems. (he denies the crime)

Not to Back Down has also been in turmoil over the past few weeks, following a rift between management members and the resignation of the group’s chief executive.

Republican presidential candidate Florida Governor Ron DeSantis On October 13, 2023, he spoke at the inaugural 2023 National Leadership Conference in Nashua, NH.

Michael M. Santiago/Getty Images, File

Sources say the political movement is tense about how to stop former South Carolina Gov. Nikki Haley. Speed ​​in elections As she pushes to become the primary Trump alternative in the field.

At the beginning of this month, a serious moment It was first reported by NBC News.two board members from Never Back Down got into a physical fight during a private meeting between senior staff and board members.

Never Back Down The CEO resigned a week after the heated exchange, though the reason is unclear.

Shortly after that debate, Fight Right Inc. He filed suit against the state of Florida.

In a Monday memo obtained by ABC News, Uttmeyer wrote that he “welcomes an independent effort” to provide “welcome air support” to the new super PAC.

The group previously hit Haley in 30 seconds on the airwaves in Iowa and spent nearly $970,000 on her, according to Federal Election Commission filings. (Haley, on the other hand, tries to deflect DeSantis’ attacks.)

The governor is meeting with future right-wing donors — to be held in Palm Beach, Florida, according to a person familiar with the meeting — at a potentially critical juncture in the campaign, with primary voting beginning in less than two months.

Photo: Ron DeSantis, Florida governor and 2024 Republican presidential candidate, speaks at the annual leadership meeting of the Republican Jewish Coalition in Las Vegas, Oct. 28, 2023.

Ron DeSantis, Florida governor and 2024 Republican presidential candidate, speaks at the Republican Jewish Coalition’s annual leadership meeting, Oct. 28, 2023, in Las Vegas.

Rhonda Churchill/Bloomberg via Getty Images, File

As the governor continued to lose ground, Haley made steady gains in both local and state polls over the summer, leading the two to finish second behind Trump.

according to 538 is the latest national polling averageDeSantis leads Haley, about 12% to 10%.

In Iowa, with a 538 average base, DeSantis with narrow edges When Haley was in New Hampshire as a sophomore, he has He faded to the fourth Behind Trump, Haley and former New Jersey Governor Chris Christie.

In the memo, Uttmeier laid out the ideal for the two months before voting began: The campaign and Don’t Back Down would operate on the ground, while FightRight would take over the airwaves.

That vision statement appears to serve as a direct message to the groups about how they can support the campaign’s efforts and not legally coordinate with them.

Utmeyer has it too. Proud of Never Back Down’s donors Calling the Field Organizing PAC “the largest Iowa competitive machine in history.”

ABC News’ Rachel Scott contributed to this report.

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