DeSantis Overhauls Campaign, Cuts Over A Third Of Staff
ARLINGTON, VIRGINIA - JULY 17: Republican presidential candidate Florida Governor Ron DeSantis delivers remarks at the 2023 Christians United for Israel summit on July 17, 2023 in Arlington, Virginia. For this year's summit, CUFI hosts 2024 Republican presidential candidates hopefuls to speak amidst other pro-Israel activists. (Photo by Anna Moneymaker/Getty Images)
Anna Moneymaker/Getty Images

Florida Governor Ron DeSantis cut over a third of his campaign staff this week as his presidential campaign seeks to reset after a bumpy launch.

DeSantis is running in a crowded field for the Republican nomination for president, a field so far dominated by former President Donald Trump. The Florida governor is widely seen as Trump’s most competitive GOP opponent and has been consistently polling second behind Trump in Real Clear Politics polling average.

The DeSantis campaign fundraised an impressive $20 million in the second quarter of the year, but blitzed through about 40% of that total in the same amount of time. Campaign manager Generra Peck reportedly told donors at a retreat last week that the campaign was overspending and now working on a course correction.

A part of that correction came in the form of cutting 38 people from the campaign’s 90-plus staff, including less than 10 staffers whose departures from the campaign were reported earlier this month, according to POLITICO. This leaves the campaign with approximately 54 staffers. The reduction in campaign staff means that the campaign is tied with Sen. Tim Scott (R-SC) in terms of having the largest campaign payroll. Trump has 40 staffers on his campaign.

The cuts also include two top campaign advisors, Dave Abrams and Tucker Obenshain, who left the campaign to take up positions with an outside group.

“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,” 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.”

One staffer who was reportedly behind a couple of online videos, one of which depicted DeSantis with a sonnenrad, a symbol adopted by Nazis, was also let go in the cuts.

In addition to the staffing shakeup, DeSantis has altered his approach to campaigning. The governor granted a sit-down interview to CNN’s Jake Tapper last week, a significant shift for the Florida governor, who typically eschews major media network in favor of right-of-center outlets.

DeSantis’ campaign overhaul comes six months away from the first primary, giving him plenty of room to implement the changes and find his footing again before votes are cast. The Washington Examiner’s chief political correspondent, Byron York, noted that shakeups like this are “not always fatal,” but they often highlight that the candidate was not aware of some “very serious problems in his own organization.”

For its part, the campaign has sent out a note assuring supporters that its issues have been dealt with.

“No campaign is immune to changes, cuts, or challenges – our campaign acknowledged that aggressive steps needed to be taken and executed on the plan,” the note said.

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