DeSantis Campaign Already Collapsing. Low On Cash, Lays Off Dozen Of Staffers

Following former President Trump’s early announcement on Nov. 15, 2022, that he is seeking the 2024 GOP presidential nomination, never-Trumpers started courting party leaders including popular Florida Governor Ron DeSantis.

But as the months have gone by, the big wave of enthusiasm that DeSantis would need to run and compete in 2024, instead of 2028 as many of his supporters have been advocating for, has not materialized.

In spite of the lack of a ground swell at the grassroots level, Never Back Down, a pro-DeSantis super PAC has said it will spend up to $200 million to boost his White House bid.

The results so far? After less than two months on the campaign trail, DeSantis’ presidential campaign just fired close to a dozen staffers with more layoffs expected in the coming weeks.

On Saturday former President Donald Trump urged DeSantis, to “get home” to his state during a speech at the Turning Point Action conference.

“We are totally dominating DeSantis right here in the state of Florida,” Trump said. “So we want him to get home and take care of insurance because you have the highest insurance in the nation.”

Trump, who leads DeSantis by a wide margin in national polling of the race for the 2024 Republican presidential nomination, has touched on that concept before. But this was the first time he accused DeSantis of neglecting his duties since the Florida governor formally entered the race in May.

A source familiar with the firings described those who were let go as mid-level staffers across several departments whose departures were related to cutting costs.

The exits come after the departures of David Abrams and Tucker Obenshain, veterans of DeSantis’ political orbit, which were first reported by Politico.

Sources involved with the DeSantis campaign say there is an internal assessment among some that it hired too many staffers too early and that despite having brought in $20 million during its first six weeks, it was becoming clear that costs needed to be brought down.

Some in DeSantis’ political inner circle are blaming campaign manager Generra Peck, who also led DeSantis’ 2022 midterm re-election bid.

A Republican source familiar with the campaign’s thought process said: “They never should have brought so many people on. The burn rate was way too high. People warned the campaign manager, but she wanted to hear none of it.”

The donor said: “DeSantis stock isn’t rising. Twenty percent is not what people signed up for.”

The person noted that DeSantis has a penchant for switching out staffers, which means he has no core team that has worked together before.

“Americans are rallying behind Ron DeSantis and his plan to reverse Joe Biden’s failures and restore sanity to our nation, and his momentum will only continue as voters see more of him in person, especially in Iowa. Defeating Joe Biden and the $72 million behind him will require a nimble and candidate-driven campaign, and we are building a movement to go the distance,” DeSantis campaign spokesman Andrew Romeo said in a statement.

DeSantis’ campaign listed 92 people as being on the payroll for at least some period during its first fundraising period, according to campaign finance reports filed Saturday with the Federal Election Commission.

It is by far the most of any Republican presidential candidate, and it has left his campaign with huge payroll expenses and, the new filings show, fewer resources than originally thought.

DeSantis is down to $12 million in the bank, with $3 million of that can be used only during the general election.

Eric Thompson

Eric Thompson

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