The presidential campaign of Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis made another move this week indicating its frustration with its failure to gain traction. According to the Messenger, the governor’s chief of staff, James Uthmeier, is taking over as campaign manager.
The previous manager, Generra Peck, is being bumped over the campaign’s chief strategist.
DeSantis is consistently polling in the teens among likely Republican primary voters and trails former President Donald Trump badly. Staff has already been slashed and his largest donor threatened last weekend to cut off funds without a surge.
Of course, the remaining DeSantis team is putting out a positive message. Peck, who is being replaced, called Uthmeier a “close” colleague and friend and said the group “is built to last and win.”
Peck drew scrutiny as her boss’ poll numbers dropped and he fell further behind the frontrunner Trump. Cash reserves have shrunk, and some staffers blamed her for bad hiring moves and a sense of disorder.
The New York Times reported that Uthmeier will take a leave of absence from his state post to serve the campaign.
Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis’s presidential team has replaced its campaign manager, marking the biggest shakeup yet for a candidate who has so far struggled to gain momentum in the polls https://t.co/vDm8W65Dw1
— KTLA (@KTLA) August 8, 2023
The new campaign manager has been increasingly front and center in the DeSantis bid for the White House. The Times reported in July he was briefed on the organization’s financial situation and then delivered his personal assessment directly to the governor.
In a statement, campaign communications director Andrew Romeo said that the newly elevated manager “has been one of Gov. DeSantis’ top advisors for years and he is needed where it matters most.”
He lauded the move as pushing the candidate toward winning the primary and defeating the incumbent Joe Biden.
In a statement, Uthmeier said that “people have written Gov. DeSantis’ obituary many times.” But his track record proves that “he knows how to win.”
That is an increasingly unlikely outcome in the 2024 Republican primary race. Former President Trump’s support has only grown as he continues to be hit with indictments from the Biden administration and its Democratic supporters.
The 45th president appears well on his way to locking up his third straight GOP presidential nod. It is not even certain that he will participate in debates headed into the primary season due to holding such a commanding lead.