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Ken Cuccinelli at the Capitol on June 14, 2021.
Ken Cuccinelli at the Capitol on June 14, 2021.Sarah Silbiger / Bloomberg via Getty Images file

Former Trump admin official, launches pro-DeSantis group

Longtime Virginia GOP political figure Ken Cuccinelli urges Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis to jump into the 2024 presidential primary.


There's a new group aimed at urging Florida Republican Gov. Ron DeSantis to jump into the presidential bid — one started by a longtime Republican official who has been on both sides of the party's wrestling over former President Donald Trump.

Ken Cuccinelli, a former Trump administration official who fell just short of winning the 2013 Virginia gubernatorial race, announced Thursday he's started the new pro-DeSantis group called Never Back Down.

"The energy is there, grassroots conservatives see the Governor as a leader and a fighter with a winning conservative track record who will lead the Republican Party to victory in 2024," Cuccinelli said in a statement.

Cuccinelli has been involved in Republican politics for years. He won a stint as Virginia's attorney general after serving in the Senate, where he gained prominence in conservative circles as the face of a number of high-profile cases, and went onto just narrowly lose the 2013 gubernatorial election as the party's nominee.

In 2016, Cuccinelli backed Texas Republican Sen. Ted Cruz and was a key voice during party rules debates at that year's Republican National Convention. Later on, he joined the Trump administration and ultimately served as a top official at the Department of Homeland Security