One campaign implosion is another campaign’s gain, and in Iowa, as caucus day fast approaches, Ron DeSantis is pulling out the stops in the Hawkeye State.
The Florida governor has hired Blake Harris, one of Tim Scott’s top campaign advisers, onto his staff.
Politico writes that he will be in charge of Fight Right, a Super PAC supporting the governor in the first contest of the Republican primary.
The group launched last week with a $980,000 television ad buy likening GOP rival Nikki Haley to Hillary Clinton. It will focus on airing ads in Iowa attacking Haley, the former South Carolina governor, as DeSantis struggles to maintain his No. 2 position in the state. While lagging behind former President Donald Trump for months in the first caucus state, the Florida governor now also has Haley on his heels there, despite focusing the vast majority of his time and resources in Iowa since the summer.
The formation of Fight Right came amid increasing turmoil among the DeSantis campaign and his allies about how to keep Haley at bay in Iowa and beyond. That included infighting among officials at Never Back Down, the super PAC that has raised more than $100 million to boost DeSantis’ presidential bid, and which transferred $1 million to Fight Right ahead of its first ad buy, according to a person with knowledge of the arrangement.
The two groups are expected to “work alongside” each other while sharing the “same objective,” according to a person with knowledge of their efforts, granted anonymity to discuss the allied super PACs’ plans.
In a Monday memo reported by Fox News, the DeSantis campaign manager James Uthmeier informed potential donors that he “welcomes the independent efforts” of Fight Right, which was formed this month, and which he said will focus on providing “welcome air support” for the Florida conservative.
Never Back Down, the major DeSantis Super PAC, was called “the largest Iowa turnout machine in history” by Uthmeier and will continue to focus on the groundwork needed to get the vote out for DeSantis in the caucuses.
The move comes as the main rival to be the Trump alternative in the primary has hit snags in New Hampshire, where Nikki Haley has slowly climbed the ranks of contenders. Earlier in the week, Americans For Prosperity, a large political network backed by the Koch political operation known for supporting more liberal immigration policies, announced that it was backing the former UN Ambassador.