As the 2024 GOP presidential primary revs up, candidates are gearing up to pitch their vision to the American populace. At this stage, the primary contest is primarily a two-horse race between Florida Republican Governor Ron DeSantis and former President Donald Trump, with the latter currently enjoying a substantial lead in most polls.
The latest move from DeSantis’s campaign echoes one of Trump’s most well-known catchphrases: “You’re fired.” In an unexpected turn of events, DeSantis has parted ways with several staffers due to a rapid depletion of campaign funds. This comes in the wake of recent polling data showing DeSantis’s campaign trailing behind Trump.
According to the FiveThirtyEight polling average, as of Friday, Trump leads DeSantis by 28.7 points in the GOP primary. The dismissed staffers, previously working on event coordination for DeSantis, are speculated to join a pro-DeSantis super PAC named “Never Back Down.”
In the forthcoming weeks, further staff cuts are anticipated as the DeSantis team scrambles to conserve funds. This sudden reshuffling comes in light of a reported slowdown in the flow of donations to the DeSantis campaign.
Despite substantial donations from external contributors, the DeSantis campaign has exhibited a high expenditure rate. The campaign’s expenses reportedly include $900,000 on merchandise, $883,000 on digital fundraising consulting, $867,000 for media placements, and $730,000 on direct mail, besides the cost of maintaining a team of 90 staff members.
Looking forward, the DeSantis team is setting its sights on Iowa, given the state’s prestigious position as host of the first nomination caucuses. A victory in Iowa could potentially narrow the GOP field, paving the way for a more direct contest between DeSantis and Trump.
However, as the campaign takes stock of its current financial challenges, some insiders are pointing fingers at the campaign manager, Generra Peck. An unnamed Republican source familiar with the campaign expressed regret over the bloated team size and high spending rate, stating, “They never should have brought so many people on, the burn rate was way too high.”
While cautionary notes had reportedly been relayed to the campaign manager, they were seemingly dismissed. As the DeSantis campaign navigates this turbulence, it will be critical to strike a balance between investing in the campaign’s outreach and ensuring its financial viability.