The failure of the campaign and the expansive political operation aimed at Florida Governor Ron DeSantis the Republican candidate for the White House cost $168 million, according to documents released to the Federal Election Commission Wednesday evening.
The pro-DeSantis super PAC Never Back Down reported payments of more than $130.6 million in 2023, while a new Fight Right super PAC brought in $9.6 million between mid-November and December. His own campaign spent $28.3 million from May to December.
DeSantis counted on the support from outside groups more than any other major candidate since a 2010 U.S. Supreme Court ruling paved the way for super PACs. These political action committees can raise unlimited amounts of money from donors, including corporations, to advocate for or against candidates, but federal law prohibits candidates and their formal campaigns from coordinating directly with super PACs.
DeSantis finished his campaign last month, after losing by 30 points to former President Donald Trump in the Iowa caucuses. He launched his campaign with high expectations as a high-profile governor who had raised more than $130 million with his allies and had a reputation for tackling conservative issues such as abortion and education. topics related to race and gender in schools.
But he struggled in the primaries, starting with a shaky campaign launch on Twitter Spaces, financial pressures and staff shakeups. DeSantis too faces concerns to blur the boundaries of what is authorized by electoral laws. A nonpartisan government watchdog group alleged in a complaint filed with the Federal Election Commission that there was coordination and communication between the campaign and the super PAC supporting it. Never Back Down orchestrated much of the ground work for DeSantis. He received more than $80 million from a committee supporting his successful re-election as governor in 2022. Meanwhile, Fight Right was created by DeSantis’ allies in Florida for television advertising. He paid for ads to attack former…