Jun 20, 2024  |  
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Julia Johnson, Politics Reporter

NextImg:Trump PAC seeks to embarrass DeSantis on Florida home turf with billboard effort

A super PAC supporting former President Donald Trump's 2024 election bid has moved on from negative attacks against Gov. Ron DeSantis (R-FL) in early states and instead turned to the Sunshine State.

MAGA Inc. recently logged $1.5 million in negative ads focused on former U.N. Ambassador Nikki Haley, a departure from their primary focus on DeSantis, according to data from research director for the California Target Book Rob Pyers. The shift comes as Haley continues to climb in primary polls while DeSantis sees declines in several early states and national polling measures.


However, the political action committee also spent $11,634 on negative billboards aimed at DeSantis in his home state of Florida.

As to the purpose of these billboards, which were placed in Tallahassee near the governor’s mansion, a spokesperson for MAGA Inc. said, "I think they speak for themselves."

One billboard read, "How’s the donor-funded gold simulator, Ron? Get to work lowering our insurance costs, not your handicap!"

"Welcome home, Ron! The only thing worse than your poll numbers is our insurance rates! Quit the campaign and get back to work!" said another.

An additional billboard took a shot at the Florida governor's private jet usage. "Flying high, Ron? So are our insurance rates. Ditch the private jet and get back to work!" it said.

According to Trump ally and Republican strategist Roger Stone, "Trump, I think, wants to run up the largest possible margin against Ron DeSantis." This would serve as "payback for the treachery of his candidacy," he said.

Stone noted that "the deadline for removing his name from the Florida ballot passed on Dec. 12. So, regardless of what happens in Iowa or after Iowa, there's going to be a presidential primary in Florida in March, and Ron DeSantis and Donald Trump are going to be on the ballot."

On Dec. 11, 2023, Trump spokesman Steven Cheung said in a statement, "Tomorrow is the last day for Ron to take his name off the ballot in Florida, or he runs the risk of getting crushed into oblivious by President Trump. Ron can either save whatever face he has left or he can face embarrassment unlike any other politician has faced before."

The Florida Republican primary will take place March 19, well after the early state competitions.

And while "Trump has a long history of falling out with people and later reconciling with them," Stone pointed out, he doesn't think that will be the case regarding DeSantis.

In addition to bringing negative attention to DeSantis on his home turf, Stone said the billboards could also have the effect of acting as a warning to others considering bucking the former president.

DeSantis's campaign was skeptical that Trump's political machine was truly done attacking the candidate, however.

A spokeswoman from the DeSantis campaign referred the Washington Examiner to the $40 million spent on negative independent expenditures aimed at the governor, pointing out that over $23 million of it was taken out by MAGA Inc. She also noted Trump's team has previously signaled it was done fighting against primary opponents and moving on to the general election before pivoting back.


In August, the Trump-aligned super PAC had indicated its intent to begin focusing on the general election, implying the primary was essentially over. At this time, the group began putting out ads aimed at President Joe Biden rather than DeSantis.

The attack on DeSantis in his home state comes as Trump continues to consolidate Republican support both in political office and in the voter base. The former president also hasn't been shy about vowing to deliver "retribution" and cryptically suggesting those who don't endorse him could face electoral failure.