DeSantis sheds campaign staff as he struggles to meet fundraising goals, gain traction against Trump

DeSantis remains in second place in the primary behind Trump, but his campaign senses opportunity in Iowa.

Published: July 16, 2023 9:24am

Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis cut staff from his 2024 presidential campaign as he struggles both in fundraising and gaining traction in 2024 Republican primary polls against former President Donald Trump. 

DeSantis' campaign cut less than 10 staffers last week, people familiar with the matter told Politico and The New York Times. This is roughly 10% of his campaign staff in the second quarter, when he spent more than $1 million on payroll, insurance and related fees for about 90 staffers. 

All of the laid-off aides were involved in event planning, and some of them may end up working at the pro-DeSantis super PAC Never Back Down, which has reportedly received resumes from some of the staffers who were let go.

The governor raised about $20 million in the second quarter of 2023, with about $3 million of that set aside for the general election. Additionally, small-dollar donors made up about 15% of his donations, and he will likely need to increase this level to keep up with the Trump campaign. 

"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," DeSantis spokesperson Andrew Romeo told Politico, referring to how Iowa is hosting the first GOP candidate selection event of the 2024 election.

"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," he also said. 

DeSantis remains in second place in the primary behind Trump, including in Iowa. However, the DeSantis campaign senses opportunity in Iowa, and notes that Trump even attacked GOP Gov. Kim Reynolds, who is incredibly popular in the state. 

The latest poll in Iowa earlier this month by American Greatness showed Trump ahead of DeSantis by 23%, but his lead is shrinking in polling, according to FiveThirtyEight.

Madeleine Hubbard is an international correspondent for Just the News. Follow her on Twitter or Instagram.

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