The largest individual donor to Florida Governor Ron DeSantis’ (R) presidential campaign, Robert Bigelow, informed Reuters that he wouldn’t give any additional funds unless DeSantis adopted a more moderate stance and attracted new significant donors.
By far, Bigelow is DeSantis’s largest donor. The pro-DeSantis Never Back Down PAC received a $20 million donation in March from the creator of Bigelow Aerospace. Venture entrepreneur Douglas Leone represents the next closest donor, giving $2 million, or one-tenth of Bigelow’s donation.
“He must change in order to reach the moderates. If he fails to do so, he will lose. Extremism won’t help you get elected,” according to Bigelow, who spoke to Reuters this week. Bigelow highlighted Florida’s six-week limit on abortions as an example of an excessive legislation.
Bigelow stated to Reuters that he is now halting any donations to DeSantis because they represent “too big a percentage.”
“Not until I can see he can produce more on his own.” Bigelow informed Reuters, “I am already too large of a percentage.” Bigelow said that “a lot of his donors have remained on the fence.”
Bigelow remarked, “It is going to be quite a bit,” without giving a specific amount he hoped to raise.
Bigelow is worried about DeSantis’s campaign as his poll numbers reach a new low. According to a recent Morning Consult poll, only 15% of Republican primary voters endorse DeSantis. On the other hand, with 58 percent of the vote, former President Trump leads DeSantis by a margin of 43 points.
Bigelow isn’t the only contributor worried about DeSantis’ poll numbers and likelihood of winning the election. Andy Sabin, a Republican contributor, “soured on DeSantis and shifted his backing behind Senator Tim Scott partially because of the abortion issue,” according to Reuters.
Republican megadonor Ken Griffin is now rethinking his backing for DeSantis after saying months before the candidate’s campaign debut that “our country would be extremely well-served with him as president.”
“Griffin is one among several contributors who backed DeSantis’s gubernatorial efforts but are hesitant to support his presidential candidacy. Ike Perlmutter, a former Marvel chairman who contributed more than $2 million to DeSantis’s governor reelection campaign with his wife, is preparing to back Trump’s third White House attempt with a ‘meaningful’ donation,” according to CNBC.
According to Politico, “billionaire Ronald Lauder, who gave over $200,000 to DeSantis’ governorship campaigns, is now thinking about supporting Senator Tim Scott (R-SC) with funds.”
Following Florida’s updated educational standards, which aim to teach kids about the “personal benefits” enslaved Americans experienced during slavery, the DeSantis campaign has recently become enveloped in controversy. Additionally, the campaign produced an interview video with a Nazi emblem.
Despite the dip in donations, Bigelow continues to think DeSantis is “the best guy to lead the country.”
According to reports, Bigelow expressed his worries to DeSantis’ campaign manager Generra Peck and urged her to support a more moderate stance if she wanted to win.
Bigelow described Peck’s response as “a lengthy moment of silence where I was thinking perhaps she had passed out.” Bigelow continued by branding Peck a “extremely good campaign manager, and I believe she took it all in.”