On Tuesday Florida Governor Ron DeSantis’ presidential campaign has confirmed the dismissal of more than a third of its staff according to Politico. The decision comes as the campaign seeks to regain its footing in the primary race. The cuts will result in a total of 38 jobs being shed across various departments, including the 10 event planning positions announced several weeks ago and the recent departures of two senior DeSantis campaign advisers, Dave Abrams and Tucker Obenshain.
“Following a top-to-bottom review of our organization, we have taken additional, aggressive steps to streamline operations and put Ron DeSantis in the strongest position to win this primary and defeat Joe Biden,” DeSantis campaign manager Generra Peck said in a statement. “Gov. DeSantis is going to lead the Great American Comeback and we’re ready to hit the ground running as we head into an important month of the campaign.”
The decision to streamline the campaign’s operations is a response to financial concerns. Despite a successful fundraising effort in the second quarter of this year, bringing in $20 million, a substantial part of this sum has already been expended. Additionally, a significant chunk of the funds came from donors who have reached their contribution limit and are unable to donate more.
Federal filings reveal that the campaign had a staff of over 90 individuals through to the end of June. At a recent donor retreat in Deer Valley, Utah, campaign manager Peck admitted to overspending in certain areas, indicating the need for further budgetary adjustments. The campaign is also planning to cut costs by organizing smaller, more personal events and reducing travel expenses.
While some staff members will be departing the campaign, they will continue to support DeSantis’ election efforts. Both Abrams and Obenshain are slated to join an external group supporting DeSantis. In a move to further tighten financial control, the campaign has named Carl Sceusa as its chief financial officer, a role he will undertake in addition to his duties as chief technology officer.
The campaign has also seen other staffing changes recently. Ethan Eilon, previously the digital director, has been promoted to deputy campaign manager. Cody Hall, a senior political advisor to Georgia Governor Brian Kemp, has joined as senior communications advisor. Andrew Romeo, formerly the campaign spokesperson, has been promoted to the position of communications director.
Earlier today, DeSantis was involved in a car accident while on the campaign trail in Chattanooga, Tennessee. DeSantis was in town for a fundraiser sponsored by local Republican supporters. He was unhurt in the collision according to a statement by his spokesperson given to Fox News.
DeSantis will go head-to-head with former President Donald Trump and fellow Republican rivals on Tennessee’s GOP primary election, set to be held March 5th, 2024 as part of Super Tuesday. The winner-take-most scenario offers the potential of up to 58 delegates for the Republican National Convention.
Governor DeSantis has trailed President Trump in the polls badly since the poor start to his presidential campaign, and his advisors in recent days have emphasized that a reset will see his staff headcount reduced and a pullback in planned TV advertising in early-voting states like Iowa and New Hampshire.
As the Florida governor’s stock has fallen, rivals like businessman Vivek Ramaswamy have filled the void as he closes in on DeSantis in some polling. Since President Trump’s first criminal indictment by the Manhattan district attorney, Republicans have largely rallied behind the former president as they remain suspicious of a two-tiered justice system that spares Hunter Biden prison time while elevating felony counts against Trump. Even rivals have jumped to the former president’s side, with Ramaswamy leading a call for all Republican presidential candidates to pardon Trump of all crimes should any one of them be elected.