2024 Election /

DeSantis Replaces Campaign Manager As Poll Numbers Continue Downward Spiral

Florida Governor Ron DeSantis has replaced his campaign manager as his poll numbers continue on a downward spiral.

DeSantis has replaced former campaign manager Generra Peck with James Uthmeier, who previously served as his chief of staff in the governor’s office.

Peck is not fired, however, and will remain on the campaign as a chief strategist.

“Governor DeSantis is running one of the most aggressive early state campaigns in modern history,” Peck told The Messenger. “Our organization welcomes the best of the best and James is one of my closest colleagues and friends — we are better for his joining and providing day to day leadership. This team is built to last and built to win.”

The outlet reports that Peck “quickly became the subject of criticism from DeSantis advisers and donors in mid-July after his presidential campaign stalled and money dried up.”

“People have written Governor DeSantis’s obituary many times,” Uthmeier said in a statement to The Messenger. “From his race against establishment primary candidate Adam Putnam, to his victory over legacy media-favored candidate Andrew Gillum [in 2018], to his twenty point win over Charlie Crist [in 2022], Governor DeSantis has proven that he knows how to win. He’s breaking records on fundraising and has a supporting super PAC with $100 million in the bank and an incredible ground game. Get ready.”

Uthmeier, according to The Messenger, “earned a reputation in Florida political circles as the governor’s always-on-offense conservative fixer. He has had a key role in nearly every conservative and controversial policy that built the DeSantis brand with conservatives.”

David Polyansky will join Uthmeier as deputy campaign manager.

The Messenger reports that Polyansky is an “experienced Iowa operative who boasts of never losing a Republican presidential primary in the first-in-the-nation caucus state.” He is currently an adviser for the pro-DeSantis Never Back Down super PAC.

DeSantis communications director Andrew Romeo said in a statement about the shakeup, “Uthmeier has been one of Governor DeSantis’ top advisors for years and he is needed where it matters most: working hand in hand with Generra Peck and the rest of the team to put the governor in the best possible position to win this primary and defeat Joe Biden. David Polyansky will also be a critical addition to the team given his presidential campaign experience in Iowa and work at Never Back Down. We are excited about these additions as we continue to spread the governor’s message across the country. It’s time to reverse our nation’s decline and revive America’s future.”

Late last month, the DeSantis campaign laid off one-third of its staff. A total of 38 employees were cut after an “internal review.”

According to Politico, who first reported on the shakeup, the layoffs include the “roughly 10 event planning positions that were announced several weeks ago, in addition to the recent departures of two senior DeSantis campaign advisers, Dave Abrams and Tucker Obenshain.”

“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 obtained by the outlet. “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.”

During the second quarter of the year, DeSantis’ campaign said that they raised $20 million but had spent a large amount. A significant problem they face is that much of that money came from donors who have now given the maximum allowed contributions, meaning they cannot donate again.

DeSantis is even struggling to win over voters in his own state.

A poll conducted by Florida Atlantic University Mainstreet PolCom Lab earlier this month, found that 50 percent of Republican primary voters in Florida support Trump. DeSantis is in second place, with just 30 percent support.

“Although DeSantis and Trump enjoy significant popularity among Floridians, Trump maintains a formidable 20 percent lead over DeSantis among statewide GOP primary voters, with Trump capturing the support of 50 percent of Republican voters compared to DeSantis’ 30 percent,” the pollsters reported.

The poll additionally found that one in five Florida Republicans perceive supporting a candidate other than Trump in the primaries as “disloyal,” which they noted poses “a challenging environment for any contender seeking to challenge the former president’s dominance.”

According to the Real Clear Politics average of national polls, DeSantis has support from only 15 percent of Republican primary voters, down from 31 percent in late March.

A Morning Consult survey conducted after Trump’s most recent indictment has him at 59 percent support, compared to 16 percent for DeSantis.

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