Adam Laxalt, a former Nevada attorney general and a longtime friend of Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis, has stepped down as chairman of the pro-DeSantis super PAC Never Back Down, according to a person familiar with the decision.
Laxalt, who ran unsuccessfully for one of Nevada’s U.S. Senate seats in 2022, is the second top official to leave the group in little more than a week. Never Back Down’s CEO Chris Jankowski resigned last week amid internal strife at the super PAC, explaining in a statement that while he still supported DeSantis’ 2024 presidential bid, his role at Never Back Down had become “untenable.”
A spokesperson for Never Back Down did not provide an explanation for Laxalt’s exit, which was first reported on Friday by The New York Times.
According to that report, Laxalt submitted his resignation to the group’s board on Nov. 26, just four days after Jankowski’s exit. In it, he said that he hoped to turn his attention to his family and the law firm where he is a partner.
“After nearly 26 straight months of being in a full-scale campaign, I need to return my time and attention to my family and law practice,” Laxalt wrote, according to the Times. He reportedly also noted that he would continue to support DeSantis’ bid for the GOP presidential nomination.
Laxalt did not respond to the Miami Herald’s request for comment on his exit from Never Back Down.
Laxalt, a longtime friend who roomed with DeSantis while the two were training as Naval officers, joined Never Back Down in April, before the Florida governor formally entered the presidential race. His involvement with the super PAC gave DeSantis a close ally inside the group that could hold sway over its activities.
Never Back Down has played a critical role in DeSantis’ presidential bid, running ads, putting together a massive door-knocking operation in early-voting states and easing the financial burden on DeSantis’ campaign by organizing events and even paying for the governor’s travel to those events.
But some divisions have emerged between longtime DeSantis allies and some super PAC officials over the group’s messaging and strategy.
Last month, three close DeSantis allies in Florida formed a new super PAC called Fight Right that has already reserved more than $900,000 in Iowa advertising, according to the political media-tracking firm AdImpact.
While federal law prohibits campaigns and super PACs from coordinating, DeSantis’ team has signaled that they plan to embrace the help from both groups.
In a memo sent to donors on Monday, DeSantis campaign manager James Uthmeier outlined his vision for the roles the super PACs would play, with Never Back Down handling on-the-ground organizing efforts and Fight Right taking the lead on television advertising.
“In the final push for the Iowa Caucus victory, this campaign will proudly fight alongside NBD’s impressive ground game, and Fight Right’s television team, to show the people of Iowa that this is a time for choosing, and Ron DeSantis is the candidate that can WIN!” Uthmeier wrote. “We are blessed to have both an NBD-army and Fight Right-air force out there fighting for us.”