There are a handful of unofficial, and unsanctioned, “Draft DeSantis” groups raising money to encourage the Florida governor to run for president. These sort of fundraising groups pop up online every few years as a nice little grift for out-of-the-game consultants looking to profit off the popularity of a buzzy political figure they’ve probably never met. The most notable pro-DeSantis group at the moment might be “Ready For Ron,” an entity run by 79-year-old G.O.P. strategist and green room veteran Ed Rollins, who has used this playbook before. (Back in 2016 and 2020, Rollins ran the pro-Trump “Great America PAC,” a fundraising group that the Trump campaign publicly disavowed twice.)
Now, I’m told, a new outside group is taking shape. And given the consultants involved in the planning, it’s all but certain to be the official super PAC of the DeSantis campaign, if (and when) he decides to run. Multiple G.O.P. sources tell me that a pair of respected Republican consultants—Phil Cox, a veteran adviser to Republican governors with close connections with major donors, and Liesl Hickey, the former executive director of the National Republican Congressional Committee—have been recruiting staffers for a super PAC that would support a DeSantis bid.
The governor has not made a decision on a campaign, but both Cox and Hickey are experienced, high-level strategists who helped steer DeSantis’s 2022 re-election bid and his attention-grabbing fights on education and Covid. They aren’t the kind of people who waste their days fighting with randos on Twitter—both were working in the trenches of Republican politics long before Trump came along—and their involvement in the possible super PAC is one of the strongest signals yet that DeSantis is moving toward a national campaign. I’m also told that Generra Peck, a Darden MBA with Virginia roots who now works for DeSantis in Tallahassee, has been making similar recruiting calls to Republican operatives about possibly working on an official campaign if DeSantis decides to take the plunge.