Struggling Ron DeSantis Campaign Slashes Staff Amid Fundraising Woes

DeSantis Campaign Faces Staff Reduction as Fundraising Struggles Continue

Florida Governor and potential 2024 Republican presidential candidate, Ron DeSantis, has made the decision to cut back on campaign staff as his fundraising efforts fall short of expectations. Politico reports that fewer than 10 staffers were laid off, with more changes expected in the coming weeks.

According to an anonymous staffer, the layoffs primarily affected employees involved in event planning. There is a possibility that these individuals may find positions within the pro-DeSantis super PAC, Never Back Down. Additionally, two senior campaign advisors, Dave Abrams and Tucker Obenshain, recently left the campaign to assist a pro-DeSantis nonprofit group.

Insiders within the campaign have revealed that an internal assessment concluded that the campaign had hired too many staffers too early. A Republican source familiar with the campaign’s decision-making process stated, “They never should have brought so many people on, the burn rate was way too high.” However, these warnings were reportedly disregarded by the campaign manager.

Despite these latest developments, more shake-ups are anticipated in the coming weeks as DeSantis continues to trail behind former President Donald Trump in the polls. Even in his home state of Florida, where DeSantis serves as governor, Trump maintains a 20-point lead over him, according to a recent Florida Atlantic University poll.

The DeSantis campaign has raised $20 million since its launch, but more than one-third of these funds were received within the first ten days. Furthermore, financial data shows that the campaign heavily relies on wealthy donors who have already reached their maximum permitted individual contributions. A significant portion of these funds has been allocated to payroll expenses, with 90 staffers on board, as well as fundraising efforts that include substantial spending on merchandise, digital consulting, media placements, and direct mail.

In addition to the challenges in fundraising, DeSantis has faced scrutiny this week following an investigation by the Miami Herald and Tampa Bay Times. This investigation revealed that several veterans had resigned from Florida’s state guard training due to reported abuse and likened the training to that of a militia. DeSantis reactivated the state guard in 2022, expanding its membership and budget in May.

As the DeSantis campaign refocuses its resources on early primary states, a campaign memo obtained by NBC News highlights that early state voters are not firmly committed to candidates at this stage and often wait until they have had a chance to meet or watch the candidates debate before making a decision.

As the campaign progresses, it remains to be seen how DeSantis will address these challenges and regain momentum in his bid for the presidency. The upcoming weeks are likely to be critical in shaping the trajectory of his campaign and determining whether he can compete with the front-runner, Donald Trump.