Ron DeSantis Cuts Staff, Shifts Media Strategy Amid Struggling Campaign

Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis’ 2024 presidential campaign appears to be on shaky ground amid reports he’s dropping staff and switching up his media strategy.

On Saturday, Politico reported that DeSantis laid off “fewer than 10” campaign employees in the events organizing department amid a noted slump in fundraising.

In the same weekend, Deadline announced the governor’s plans to appear on CNN, signaling a move to broaden his reach beyond conservative media outlets like Fox News, Newsmax and OAN.

DeSantis’ campaign was able to raise $20 million in the second quarter of this year but the pace of donations has slowed drastically since its official launch in late May, leading insiders to tell NBC News the campaign hired too many staffers too early. Further fueling worries are his weak numbers in low-dollar donors, a grassroots demographic Donald Trump has come to rely on.

Ron DeSantis' presidential campaign appears to be cutting some staff and shifting its media strategy.
Ron DeSantis’ presidential campaign appears to be cutting some staff and shifting its media strategy.

Scott Olson via Getty Images

The site reported DeSantis had 92 people on payroll during the reporting period, a significant amount more than the staff of his fellow campaigns. In addition to the handful of laid-off staffers, two senior campaign employees left for positions at a pro-DeSantis nonprofit organization.

The governor has struggled to compete with Trump’s popularity and war chest, which reportedly stands around $22 million, according to filings with the Federal Election Commission. A survey last week from pollster Morning Consult showed 56% of Republican voters favoring Trump compared with 17% favoring DeSantis.

DeSantis’ evolving media strategy was first laid out by insiders who spoke to The Wall Street Journal, claiming the candidate will better connect with voters when they learn more about his policies, as well as his “modest upbringing, service in the Navy and family life.”

DeSantis, who has repeatedly accused “corporate press” of pursuing a “political agenda,” will appear for an interview on CNN’s “The Lead With Jake Tapper” on Tuesday, following a campaign event in Columbia, South Carolina.

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