The Republican presidential campaign of Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis is cutting more staff as it attempts to “streamline” operations, top aides confirmed to Fox News on Tuesday.
The layoffs, which total nearly 40 people from across the campaign, come as DeSantis and his top advisers aim to get the governor’s GOP presidential nomination bid back on track two months after he declared his candidacy for the White House.
“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,” DeSantis campaign manager Generra Peck said in a statement.
Peck emphasized that “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.”
The latest staffing cuts follow the departure earlier this month of two top DeSantis campaign advisers — Dave Abrams and Tucker Obenshain — who left to join a DeSantis-aligned non-profit group that’s expected to aid the governor’s 2024 effort.
The move, first reported by Politico, is also another signal that top officials are attempting to cut costs following concerns by leading donors over campaign spending.
The news comes two days after the campaign told top financial contributors that a “reset” was underway.
The officials acknowledged Sunday during a meeting with leading campaign donors and bundlers that they spent too much money in the two months since DeSantis launched his White House bid, sources with knowledge of the gathering confirmed to Fox News.
During the meeting at the upscale Stein Eriksen Lodge of the Deer Valley resort in Utah, DeSantis’ campaign promised that more changes were ahead as the Florida governor aims to rebound from what has been characterized as a disappointing start to his campaign.
Campaign officials, according to sources familiar with the meeting, acknowledged that money had been spent on unsuccessful operations and that Team DeSantis would run a leaner, “insurgent” type campaign going forward.
“Something needs to change and there needs to be a new ignition,” a leading DeSantis donor told Fox News.
Former President Donald Trump, who remains the commanding front-runner in the GOP nomination race as he makes his third straight White House run, has expanded his large double-digit lead over DeSantis in many polls since DeSantis declared his candidacy. And the governor’s lead over the rest of the large field of 2024 Republican presidential candidates has shrunk since late spring.
Trump campaign senior adviser Jason Miller took to Twitter to take aim at the DeSantis campaign, writing “they fired the wrong staffers.”
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 declared his candidacy.
And peeking past the top lines, only a small percentage of the cash DeSantis raised came from donors contributing less than $200, with much of his fundraising coming from top-dollar donors, some of whom have now maxed out and are prevented by Federal Election Commission rules from giving further contributions to the governor. Trump, by comparison, saw the lion’s share of his fundraising come from small-dollar, grassroots donations.
DeSantis has also been burning through his campaign coffers at a quicker rate than Trump. The governor’s campaign spent $7.9 million in half the time that Trump’s team shelled out $9.1 million.
Karoline Leavitt, spokeswoman for the pro-Trump super PAC Make America Great Again, charged that “Team DeSantis has lit tens of millions of dollars on fire. In return, DeSantis has seen a collapse in polling. The people left to suffer are a few dozen low and mid-level staffers.”