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DeSantis Campaign Sheds Staff Amid Cash Crunch


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Ron DeSantis’ presidential campaign is shedding staff as it navigates a cash crunch and looks to refocus resources on Iowa.

Fewer than 10 staffers were let go by the Florida governor’s campaign Thursday, according to a person familiar with the internal deliberations and granted anonymity to describe them. Each of the aides was involved in event planning, and some of them may soon wind up at an allied outside group. Never Back Down, the pro-DeSantis super PAC, has received resumes from staffers who’ve been let go, a person familiar with the group said.

The decision to shed the staff comes as the DeSantis campaign has struggled to meet its fundraising expectations. Though the governor raised $20 million in the second quarter of this year, $3 million of that was earmarked for the general election. In addition, only about 15 percent of his donations came from small-dollar donors, a level he will likely have to enhance in order to keep up with former President Donald Trump, who has built a robust small-dollar network over the years. DeSantis’ campaign spent more than $1 million on payroll, payroll taxes, insurance and processing fees in the second quarter with roughly 90 staffers on the books.

Despite his fundraising difficulties, DeSantis remains firmly in second place in the GOP primary behind Trump, and Never Back Down has raised more than $100 million.

“Americans are rallying behind Ron DeSantis and his plan to reverse Joe Biden’s failures and restore sanity to our nation, and his momentum will only continue as voters see more of him in person, especially in Iowa,” said DeSantis spokesperson Andrew Romeo. “Defeating Joe Biden and the $72 million behind him will require a nimble and candidate-driven campaign, and we are building a movement to go the distance.”

DeSantis is expected to campaign heavily in Iowa, where he is preparing to embark on a tour of the state’s 99 counties, an ambitious plan that would require extensive event staff. It is likely that Never Back Down would help stage at least some of those events; last week, the organization sponsored a DeSantis appearance in New Hampshire.

While polls have shown DeSantis trailing in Iowa, his advisers have argued they have an opportunity in the state. They note that this past week Trump attacked the state’s popular Republican governor, Kim Reynolds, for remaining neutral in the race and that Trump skipped a forum in the state hosted by evangelical leader Bob Vander Plaats.

“Donald Trump gave us an opening in Iowa this week, and we’re taking it,” Romeo said.

In addition to the event staffers’ departure, two senior DeSantis campaign advisers, Dave Abrams and Tucker Obenshain, have left the campaign to work for a pro-DeSantis nonprofit organization. Abrams had been serving as the senior communications adviser and media director, and Obenshain led the campaign’s external affairs.



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