Major setback for DeSantis: Top donor eyes shift to Trump camp

Written by Jeppe W

Nov.09 - 2023 7:30 AM CET


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Las Vegas real estate investor Robert Bigelow, a major donor to Florida Governor Ron DeSantis, is reconsidering his political allegiance.

In an interview with the Financial Times, Bigelow, who had previously contributed $20 million to the Never Back Down super PAC supporting DeSantis, expressed his shifting preference towards former President Donald Trump.

Bigelow's change of heart comes amidst his assessment of the political landscape and leadership qualities.

He described Trump as a "bull" and a "streetwise" leader, qualities he believes are essential in a commander, especially in the wake of the Oct. 7 Hamas attack on Israeli civilians. In contrast, he referred to DeSantis as "dinner," suggesting a perceived lack of aggressiveness.

Bigelow's disappointment

Despite being DeSantis' largest donor, Bigelow has expressed disappointment with the Florida governor, especially in the context of DeSantis' debate performances and ability to resonate with voters.

He noted that Trump remains the preferred candidate among Republican voters, with DeSantis and former South Carolina Governor Nikki Haley vying for second place in the polls.

Bigelow, who also owns Budget Suites of America and Bigelow Aerospace, has criticized some of DeSantis' policies, particularly the six-week abortion ban signed in April.

He described the ban as a "sham" and "condescending." Bigelow also expressed dissatisfaction with the lack of direct communication from DeSantis after voicing his criticism, noting that it was DeSantis' wife, Casey, who contacted him instead of the governor himself.

Apart from politics, Bigelow has diverse interests, including UFO research and investing in Nevada politics. His recent comments indicate a significant shift in his political donations and support, suggesting a potential realignment in the landscape of Republican presidential contenders.