Phil Cox, a Republican political operative who worked for New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie, will help run Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis’ re-election campaign, POLITICO has reported.
Cox ran the Republican Governor’s Association from 2011 to 2014, overlapping with Christie’s tenure as the RGA chairman in 2014.
From 2015 to 2016, he ran America Leads, a super PAC allied with Christie’s ill-fated campaign for the Republican presidential nomination. Christie’s campaign collapsed after a 6th place finish in New Hampshire, dropping out one day after garnering just 7.4% of the vote.
In New Jersey’s 2018 U.S. Senate race, Cox was involved in super PAC tied to Christie, Integrity NJ. The political action committee spent nearly $7.5 million on largely negative ads aimed at ousting Democratic U.S. Senator Bob Menendez. Despite the attacks, Menendez was re-elected by a margin of more than 11 percentage points.
DeSantis defeated Tallahassee Mayor Andrew Gillum by 32,463 votes, 49.6% to 49.2%.
Possible challengers to DeSantis include state Agriculture Commissioner Nikki Fried and Rep. Charlie Crist, a former Republican governor who now serves in the House as a Democrat.