Robert Bigelow, the renowned founder of Bigelow Aerospace and the largest individual donor supporting Florida Governor Ron DeSantis’ presidential campaign, has announced that he will not be contributing any further funds unless DeSantis makes significant changes to his stance and attracts new major donors. In particular, Bigelow believes that DeSantis needs to adopt a more moderate approach and address policies that are perceived as extreme, such as Florida’s controversial six-week abortion restriction.
Bigelow had previously donated a substantial $20 million to the pro-DeSantis Never Back Down PAC. However, he now expresses concern that his contribution constitutes too large a percentage of the campaign’s overall funding. Bigelow also points out that many other donors are still undecided and could potentially withhold their support.
DeSantis’ campaign has been facing challenges, evident in his lagging poll numbers with only 15% support among Republican primary voters. Former President Donald Trump, another potential candidate, enjoys a significant lead over DeSantis, gathering 58% support.
It’s not just Bigelow who is expressing reservations about DeSantis’ chances. Andy Sabin and Ken Griffin, as well as other donors who have previously supported DeSantis’ gubernatorial campaigns, have raised concerns about issues such as the abortion controversy. These donors are now considering redirecting their support towards other candidates, including Senator Tim Scott.
Despite encountering controversies like Florida’s new education standards and a controversial video featuring a Nazi symbol, DeSantis’ team remains focused on early primary states, including Iowa, New Hampshire, and South Carolina. The campaign has not directly addressed Bigelow’s comments, but they continue to express gratitude towards their supporters. Bigelow, despite his concerns, still believes that DeSantis is the best candidate for the country.
Bigelow had a conversation with campaign manager Generra Peck to share his concerns and push for a more moderate shift. According to Bigelow, Peck listened attentively and is highly regarded as a capable campaign manager.