Former Trump Official Cuccinelli Launches PAC, Urges Gov. DeSantis to Run for President

( — On Mar. 9, the Trump administration’s former Acting Deputy Secretary of Homeland Security, Ken Cuccinelli, launched the Never Back Down PAC. This political action committee is urging Florida GOP Governor Ron DeSantis to enter the 2024 presidential race.  Cuccinelli, the former attorney general of Virginia, said “America’s future is Ron DeSantis.”

“America’s future is Ron DeSantis,” said Cuccinelli in a press release. “Ron DeSantis doesn’t just talk, he acts, but most of all he never backs down. Governor DeSantis, today I’m asking you to run for president. You’ve had our back now we will have yours.”

Cuccinelli served as a Virginia State senator from 2002-2010 and the Attorney General of Virginia from 2010-2014. In 2019, he was chosen to serve in the Trump administration as Acting Deputy Secretary of Homeland Security as well as Acting Director of U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services till 2021.

The Never Back Down PAC’s website describes Cuccinelli as  “constitutional lawyer who has fought on the front lines of the conservative movement for more than two decades defending the Constitution and protecting the Rule of Law.”

As for why DeSantis should run for president, Cuccinelli states, “Under his leadership, Governor DeSantis has made Florida the number one destination for all Americans looking for a brighter future and a better life, with more freedom and opportunity than anywhere else in America.”


“Governor DeSantis has a proven record defending our borders, defending our kids, defending parental rights, defending the unborn, defending small business, and he’ll defend America,” said the former attorney general.

Cuccinelli has chosen Chris Jankowski as the PAC’s executive director. Jankowski is a political entrepreneur with over 25 years of national and grassroots political experience. Jankowski has provided “strategic guidance and political operations skills” for the early development of the Republican Attorneys General Association and the Republican Sate Leadership Committee, according to the press release.  These organizations have helped pave the way for significant victories at the state level for Republicans.  

Furthermore, Jankowski helped in the development of the REDMAP project, which was a strategy implemented “to expand Republican control of state legislatures.” He has also served as a senior advisor to multiple Republican candidates.

Governor DeSantis has been in Florida politics since 2012 when he won the U.S. House of Representatives seat in Florida’s 6th congressional district. He was reelected in both 2014 and 2016. In 2018, DeSantis announced his run for governor to succeed now Sen. Rick Scott (R-Fla.). DeSantis narrowly defeated the then highly controversial Tallahassee Mayor Andrew Gillum.

In 2022, DeSantis announced he would be running for reelection against former U.S. House of Representatives member and 44th governor of Florida, Charlie Crist. DeSantis crushed Crist in the 2022 election, winning 59.4% of the votes to Crist’s 40%.

DeSantis has become a key political figure for Republicans since his gubernatorial campaign in 2018. His policies and actions as governor have been highly regarded by conservative politicians and activists. Speculation that DeSantis should run for president has ramped up since his reelection as governor. Even his supporters chanted “two more years” at his victory speech after the 2022 election, indicating his run for the presidency.

As many Republicans have stated, they are seeking the party’s nomination for the presidential election in 2024; DeSantis has yet to officially announce he will be running for president.

Current polls show Donald J. Trump ahead of DeSantis in a potential battle for the GOP nomination in 2024. For instance, FiveThirtyEight finds Trump at 53% vs. DeSantis at 37%, a positive 16 points for Trump. The former president is also ahead of declared Republican candidate Nikki Haley, 67% to 21%, according to FiveThirtyEight.


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