Ron DeSantis campaign shake-up comes as ‘Top Gov’ hints at possible running mate

Florida Governor Ron DeSantis’s presidential campaign is reportedly crunching the numbers and tightening its belt.

Less than two months on the campaign trail, approximately a dozen DeSantis staffers have been fired and more are expected to be let go in the coming weeks, NBC News reports.

Politico first reported earlier this week that two senior advisers on the governor’s campaign — David Abrams and Tucker Obenshain — departed “to help an outside political no-profit group that will be bolstering the governor.”

According to an NBC News “familiar” source, the most recent group to be shown the door as part of ongoing cost-cutting measures were mid-level staffers from various departments.

Campaign sources tell the outlet that some on the inside believe too many staffers were hired too early in the campaign, and “despite bringing in $20 million during its first six weeks, it was becoming clear their costs needed to be brought down.”

Generra Peck led DeSantis’ 2022 midterm reelection bid, and, as his current campaign manager, some are blaming her for the shake-up.

One donor told the outlet “she should be” in the hot seat.

“They never should have brought so many people on, the burn rate was way too high,” said one GOP source. “People warned the campaign manager but she wanted to hear none of it.”

“DeSantis stock isn’t rising,” the donor said. “Twenty percent is not what people signed up for.”

However, the donor noted, DeSantis has a history of changing out his staff, leaving him with a core team that has spent no time working together. Each of the three times he ran for Congress, he employed three different campaign teams, and, when he first ran for governor in 2018, he “notably had a huge campaign shakeup,” NBC News reports.

According to the governor’s campaign spokesman, Andrew Romeo, DeSantis is “building a movement.”

“Americans are rallying behind Ron DeSantis and his plan to reverse Joe Biden’s failures and restore sanity to our nation, and his momentum will only continue as voters see more of him in person, especially in Iowa,” Romeo said. “Defeating Joe Biden and the $72 million behind him will require a nimble and candidate-driven campaign, and we are building a movement to go the distance.”

Campaign finance reports filed Saturday with the Federal Election Commission reveal that DeSantis’ campaign employed 92 people “for at least some period of time during its first fundraising period,” states NBC News. “It is by far the most of any Republican presidential candidate, and it has left his campaign with huge payroll expenses and, the new filings show, fewer resources than originally thought.”

The outlet continues:

DeSantis has $12 million in the bank, but of that $3 million can be used only during the general election. And about $14 million of his second quarter haul came from donors who gave the maximum legal amount. In other words, roughly two-thirds of his early donors will not be able to give directly to his campaign for the duration of the race.

 

His race for the White House is, however, expected to receive a $200 million “boost” from the pro-DeSantis super  PAC, Never Back Down, which has “a significantly larger staff” than DeSantis’s official campaign.

Meanwhile, the DeSantis campaign is attempting to “re-center” his campaign, choosing to focus heavily on Iowa and the early states, where it believes it can win over former President Donald Trump’s supporters, according to a confidential internal memo obtained by NBC News on Friday.

“Early state voters are only softly committed to the candidates they select on a ballot question this far out — including many Trump supporters,” the memo stated. “Our focus group participants in the early states even say they do not plan on making up their mind until they meet the candidates or watch them debate.”

And DeSantis has floated the idea of making Iowa Gov. Kim Reynolds his running mate should he secure the 2024 Republican nomination, despite criticism of Reynolds from Trump.

DeSantis said on Saturday that he would “of course” consider Reynolds as a potential Vice President. “I mean, she’s one of the top public servants in America,” he said, dismissing Trump’s claim that he “opened up the Governor position” for her in Iowa and “ENDORSED her” when she fell behind.

“Now, she wants to remain ‘NEUTRAL,'” Trump fumed on Truth Social. “I don’t invite her to events!”


“I thought the attacks on her were totally, totally out of hand,” DeSantis said. “Totally unnecessary. We should be thanking good Republican officeholders. … When Republicans are doing well, I like that. I don’t get jealous of that. I want to see them do well.”

Melissa Fine

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