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Republican presidential candidate Ron DeSantis has hired his top adviser to lead his campaign as the primary season officially begins to heat up with the first GOP debate only a couple of weeks away.
DeSantis replaced Generra Peck with James Uthmeier, who served as the Florida governor’s chief of staff and is considered to be “one of his most trusted, and most conservative” advisers, according to The Messenger. Peck will stay on the campaign and serve as chief strategist.
The report added that Uthmeier will also have a new deputy campaign manager, David Polyansky, who was described in as “an experienced Iowa operative who boasts of never losing a Republican presidential primary in the first-in-the-nation caucus state.”
The news comes as the race has remained largely unchanged over the last several months with former President Donald Trump leading the pack and DeSantis remaining the clear second-place candidate, polling in the high-teens or the low-twenties. The remaining candidates are polling in the low single digits.
DeSantis made the decision to hire Uthmeier after he took a week off from his job in the governor’s office to assess his own presidential campaign, diagnose what changes need to be made, and implement those changes.
“People have written Governor DeSantis’s obituary many times,” Uthmeier said in a statement. “From his race against establishment primary candidate Adam Putnam, to his victory over legacy media-favored candidate Andrew Gillum [in 2018], to his twenty point win over Charlie Crist [in 2022], Governor DeSantis has proven that he knows how to win. He’s breaking records on fundraising and has a supporting super PAC with $100 million in the bank and an incredible ground game. Get ready.”
Peck released a statement praising Uthmeier as “the best of the best” and that they “are better for his joining and providing day to day leadership.”
A donor who spoke to The Messenger said that Peck would “be the first to tell you that she made mistakes” serving as the campaign’s manager. “She admitted her mistakes and lots of people appreciate that honesty. I like her. I think she’s great. But this is the NFL. This is about winning.”
A source close to the governor’s operation raved, describing Uthmeier as “a fighter and principled conservative that understands what it means to lead.”
“He managed the governor’s policy agenda with precision, and I have no doubt he will do the same by helping Ron DeSantis evict Joe Biden from the White House and reverse America’s decline,” the source added.
Multiple other sources in DeSantis World described Uthmeier as the right person to lead the campaign and touted his work ethic, intelligence, political instincts, and ability to push things forward and score victories.
“Uthmeier earned a reputation in Florida political circles as the governor’s always-on-offense conservative fixer,” the report said. “He has had a key role in nearly every conservative and controversial policy that built the DeSantis brand with conservatives.”
Uthmeier played college sports at the University of Florida before going on to earn his law degree from Georgetown University Law Center. He later served as a law clerk in the U.S. Senate and as a senior advisor and counsel in the Trump administration.