Ron DeSantis High-Dollar Campaign Now Facing Layoffs, Replacements After First Two Months

Ron DeSantis’ presidential campaign has recently experienced a series of layoffs, signaling a reconfiguration of the high-dollar political operations. Over the span of just two months on the campaign trail, approximately twelve individuals were laid off, with more expected in the near future.


Reports suggest that middle managers from different departments were affected by these layoffs, primarily due to budgetary concerns. David Abrams and Tucker Obenshain, both key members of DeSantis’ inner circle, were among those who departed, as initially reported by Politico.


Insiders reveal that some members of the DeSantis campaign had a tendency to overstaff despite the campaign’s impressive fundraising of $20 million within the first six weeks. However, campaign manager Generra Peck, who also oversaw DeSantis’ successful reelection bid in the 2022 midterms, is facing criticism for the campaign’s less-than-stellar performance.

According to a Republican source familiar with the campaign’s thinking, one DeSantis donor expressed concerns about the management of resources, stating that too many people were brought on board, resulting in an excessively high burn rate. The source also revealed that attempts were made to warn the campaign manager, but she declined to acknowledge the feedback.


Moreover, the donor claimed that DeSantis’s popularity wasn’t increasing as expected, with the current level of support falling short of initial projections. The source attributed this, in part, to DeSantis’s tendency to rotate employees, which prevents the formation of a stable and experienced core team. This contrasts with DeSantis’s history of working with different campaign teams during his three congressional runs and the significant shakeup that occurred during his initial gubernatorial campaign in 2018.


However, as voters, particularly in Iowa, become more acquainted with Ron DeSantis in person, it is anticipated that his support will grow. With a clear plan to address Joe Biden’s perceived failures and restore stability to the nation, DeSantis’s campaign spokesman, Andrew Romeo, emphasized the establishment of a movement that strives for long-term success. This assertion was made in reference to DeSantis’s optimistic prospects for victory against Joe Biden, coupled with his substantial $72 million war chest.

Based on the reports submitted to the Federal Election Commission on Saturday, the DeSantis campaign compensated a total of 92 individuals during the initial fundraising phase. Remarkably, this figure surpasses that of any other Republican presidential candidate. Consequently, the campaign now finds itself burdened with substantial payroll costs, leading to diminished available resources as revealed in the latest filings.


Although DeSantis currently possesses a considerable sum of $12 million, only $3 million of this amount can be utilized for the general election. Notably, the second quarter donations were primarily contributed by supporters who had already reached the maximum permissible limit, contributing approximately $14 million. Consequently, a significant proportion, roughly two-thirds, of the initial donors won’t be able to provide direct campaign contributions for the remaining duration of the election.


It is worth mentioning that the pro-DeSantis super PAC, Never Back Down, boasts a larger staff than the official campaign and has pledged a substantial expenditure of up to $200 million in support of the governor’s White House aspirations.


To tackle the considerable lead enjoyed by Trump in the GOP primary, DeSantis’ campaign strategists will convene a national finance committee meeting in Tallahassee on Sunday. This presents an opportune moment for a potential reset.


NBC News examined an event invitation that outlined a campaign gathering kicking off with a briefing at the Tallahassee campaign headquarters and culminating in a barbecue at the governor’s mansion.


After nearly two months as a candidate, DeSantis has struggled to catch up to Trump. Restlessness is growing among some campaign supporters, who are urging Peck and Ryan Tyson, a seasoned Republican pollster in Florida, to shake things up.


One DeSantis supporter admitted, “Yeah, there are people grumbling about it, no doubt.” “Even I share the general feeling that he has not ignited the way we expected him to.”


According to this source, those closest to DeSantis failed to anticipate the difficulty of unseating Trump, who currently holds a substantial lead and is widely regarded as the frontrunner among Republicans. A recent poll by Florida Atlantic University revealed that Trump enjoys a 20-point advantage over DeSantis in the Sunshine State, despite DeSantis having won re-election there by nearly 20 percentage points just seven months ago.


As a result of the commotion, Phil Cox, a seasoned Republican operative who worked on DeSantis’ 2022 re-election campaign and advised Never Back Down until late May, could emerge as a significant player.

According to sources from NBC News, Cox is currently in Tallahassee for the national finance meeting. However, it’s important to note that Cox does not hold any official position within the campaign.


Acknowledging that his campaign did not start as strongly as he had anticipated, DeSantis has hinted at his awareness. Yet, he has predominantly attributed the campaign’s shortcomings to media coverage and external factors.


In an attempt to regain momentum, DeSantis’s campaign is now focusing its efforts on the early states, with Iowa taking center stage in the nominating contest. A victory for DeSantis in Iowa would not only narrow the field but also bring him closer to the long-awaited showdown with Trump. It is evident that Trump considers this state crucial, as his defeat here would likely enhance DeSantis’s position as a frontrunner.


On Friday, NBC News obtained a confidential internal memo outlining the campaign’s strategy to regain firm footing. The memo revealed that DeSantis’s team plans to invest considerable effort in the early voting states, as they see an opportunity to win over Trump’s supporters.


The memo also notes that many of these Trump supporters fall into the category of “early state voters” who are still open to being swayed and have not firmly committed to any specific candidate at this stage. Feedback from focus groups conducted in the early states even revealed that some individuals claim they will reserve judgment until they have the opportunity to meet the candidates in person or witness a debate.

With a focus on key Super Tuesday states, especially California, Never Back Down is ramping up its efforts by hiring approximately 80 organizers in the near future. However, some of DeSantis’s supporters are now putting all their hopes in Iowa, Iowa, and Iowa as the crucial states for his continued viability.


One DeSantis donor emphasized the utmost importance of prioritizing this campaign. If Trump secures victory, there won’t be any second chances. The donor stressed that DeSantis will be dedicating a significant amount of time there, aiming to seize every opportunity for retail politics. While DeSantis’ wife, Casey DeSantis, is a tremendous asset in navigating the retail politics landscape required to win Iowa, it is crucial for DeSantis himself to up his game.

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