Meanwhile, another of Mr. DeSantis’s committees was used to show his apparent gratitude to several politicians who had endorsed him at the risk of drawing Mr. Trump’s ire. The group, Great American Comeback, donated more than $110,000 to those officials, including $6,600 to Representative Chip Roy of Texas, who stumped with Mr. DeSantis relentlessly in the campaign’s final weeks. More than a dozen Iowa state legislators also received contributions.
Through it all, Mr. DeSantis’s fund-raising was slowing, as his poll numbers plummeted and his shaky moments as a candidate piled up. While Mr. DeSantis had begun the race as the darling of many conservative donors hoping to move on from Mr. Trump, the Florida governor saw much of that support leak away, first to Mr. Scott and then to former Gov. Nikki Haley of South Carolina, who remains in the contest.
Mr. DeSantis’s campaign raised less and less money each quarter of 2023; Never Back Down raised just $14.5 million in the second half of the year.
Allies of Mr. DeSantis jumped in to help out, starting their own super PACs that were seeded with money from Never Back Down. The formation of the new groups, Fight Right and Good Fight, led to tensions at Never Back Down, where many top officials quit or were fired.
Fight Right and Good Fight took over television advertising while Never Back Down focused on get-out-the-vote operations, a move publicly encouraged by the DeSantis campaign.