Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis’ Republican presidential campaign is cutting more staff as it tries to “streamline” operations, top aides confirmed to Fox News on Tuesday.
The layoffs, which include about 40 people from across the campaign, are aimed by DeSantis and his top advisers to get the governor’s bid for the GOP presidential nomination back on track two months after he announced his candidacy for the White House.
“After 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 Janera Peck said in a statement.
Peck emphasized that “Government de Saints is going to lead a great American comeback and we’re ready to hit the ground running as we head into a critical month of the campaign.”
The latest staff cuts follow the departures earlier this month of two top advisers to the DeSantis campaign — Dave Abrams and Tucker Obenshin — who left to join a DeSantis-linked nonprofit group expected to help the governor in his 2024 bid.
The move, first reported by Politico, is another sign that top officials are trying to cut spending after top donors raised concerns over campaign spending.
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The news comes two days after the campaign told top contributors that a “reset” was underway.
Officials acknowledged during a meeting Sunday with top campaign donors and bundlers that DeSantis has spent too much money in the two months since he launched his White House bid, sources with knowledge of the gathering confirmed to Fox News.
During the meeting at the upscale Stan Erickson Lodge at Deer Valley Resort in Utah, DeSantis’ campaign promised that more changes are coming as the Florida governor aims to bounce back from a disappointing start to his campaign.
According to sources familiar with the meeting, campaign officials acknowledged that money had been spent on failed operations and that Team DeSantis would go forward with a leaner, “insurgent” type of campaign.
“Something needs to change and a new ignition is needed,” a top DeSantis donor told Fox News.
Former President Donald Trump, who remains the commanding front-runner in the race for the GOP nomination as he seeks his third consecutive White House run, has extended his lead over DeSantis to large double digits in several polls since DeSantis announced his candidacy. And the governor’s lead over the rest of the large field of 2024 Republican presidential candidates has shrunk since late spring.
“They fired the wrong staff,” Trump campaign senior adviser Jason Miller wrote on Twitter, targeting the DeSantis campaign.
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DeSantis raised an impressive $20.1 million during the first six weeks of his campaign. But nearly half – $8.2 million – came in the first 24 hours after DeSantis announced his candidacy.
And looking at the top line, only a tiny fraction of the cash DeSantis raised came from donors who contributed less than $200, with most of his fundraising coming from high-dollar donors, some of whom are now overpaid and Federal Election Commission rules prevent the governor from giving more. In comparison, Trump saw the bulk of his fundraising come from small-dollar, grassroots donations.
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De Cents are also burning through their campaign coffers at a faster rate than Trump. The governor’s campaign spent $7.9 million in half the time Trump’s team spent $9.1 million.
Carolyn Levitt, spokeswoman for the pro-Trump super PAC Make America Great Again, charged that “Team DeSantis has burned tens of millions of dollars. In return, DeSantis has seen a polling disaster. The only people who have suffered are a few dozen low- and mid-level staff.”