With fundraising difficulties coming into play, Florida Governor and 2024 Republican presidential hopeful Ron DeSantis has been compelled to cut down on his campaign staff. According to an inside source, fewer than ten individuals involved in event planning have been laid off, as reported by Politico.
These former employees could potentially be absorbed by the Never Back Down super-PAC supporting DeSantis. Furthermore, two senior campaign advisers, Dave Abrams and Tucker Obenshain, recently shifted to a nonprofit supporting DeSantis.
Insiders disclose that an internal assessment pointed to an early surge in staff hiring as the main cause of the current predicament. A GOP source conversant with the campaign’s strategy told NBC News that the excessive staff numbers led to an unsustainable burn rate, despite initial warnings.
The DeSantis campaign, still trailing substantially behind former President Donald Trump after two months, is bracing for additional restructuring in the weeks to come. The recent Florida Atlantic University poll shows DeSantis lagging by 20 points behind Trump, even in his home state of Florida.
An internal memo retrieved by NBC News revealed a campaign strategy shift towards early primary states, with the understanding that early state voters are not firmly committed to their initial candidate choices. The document highlights that many voters in these states will only make up their minds after personally meeting the candidates or observing them in debates.
Since its initiation, the DeSantis campaign has raised $20m, but most of these funds came from wealthy donors who have already maxed out their individual contributions. Over a third of the donations came in within the first ten days of the campaign launch. Spending has been high, with 90 staff members on payroll and substantial costs incurred on merchandise, digital consulting, media placements, and direct mail.
Adding to the campaign’s challenges, DeSantis has recently come under scrutiny following allegations of abuse within Florida’s state guard training. A joint investigation by the Miami Herald and Tampa Bay Times highlighted claims of a militia-like training environment for the civilian disaster relief force. The state guard was reactivated by the governor in 2022 after remaining dormant since World War II’s end.