Ron DeSantis has brought in a new campaign manager, the latest shake-up as he faces intense pressure from donors to challenge former President Donald Trump’s dominance of the Republican presidential field.
(Bloomberg) — Ron DeSantis has brought in a new campaign manager, the latest shake-up as he faces intense pressure from donors to challenge former President Donald Trump’s dominance of the Republican presidential field.
James Uthmeier, who will replace Generra Peck, served as chief of staff in the Florida governor’s office. Peck will stay on as chief strategist to the campaign.
The personnel moves — which the campaign announced Tuesday — follow a string of mass layoffs and strategy shifts aimed at addressing DeSantis’s declining national poll numbers. Trump has used a string of indictments to galvanize Republican primary voters to rally behind him.
The campaign faced pressure from donors and allies to replace Peck after campaign finance reports revealed a bloated payroll and a high cash burn rate.
Uthmeier brings legal and government experience to the job but has never managed a campaign. He served in the Trump administration as an adviser to Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross and was DeSantis’s chief lawyer in the governor’s office before rising to chief of staff in 2021.
“James Uthmeier has been one of Governor DeSantis’s 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,” DeSantis spokesman Andrew Romeo said in a written statement.
The campaign is also bringing in David Polyansky, an alumnus of US Senator Ted Cruz’s 2016 presidential campaign. He is credited with Cruz’s victory in the Iowa caucuses that year.
Polyansky previously worked for Never Back Down, the super political action committee that has been supporting DeSantis’s candidacy and even running key parts of its strategy.
Earlier: DeSantis to Shake Up Team Amid Campaign Spending Scrutiny
“Governor DeSantis has to change the dynamics. That much is clear,” donor Dan Eberhart said in a statement.
He characterized the moves as “a realignment rather than a reset” because both new hires were already senior advisers in the DeSantis orbit.
Another DeSantis donor — Jay Zeidman, a managing partner at the private equity firm Altitude Ventures — said it was “no secret that the governor continues to assess the progress of the campaign.
“This is a reflection of putting the right people in the right seats, versus probably what I assume a lot of people want the narrative to be that people are being pushed out,” he added.
–With assistance from Laura Davison.
(Updates with additional details, background from fourth paragraph)
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