In yet another shake-up in his 2024 presidential campaign, Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis replaced his campaign manager with a senior aide on Tuesday.
A campaign spokesman confirmed that James Uthmeier, the governor’s chief of staff, is taking the helm. Outgoing campaign manager Generra Peck is set to stay on as chief strategist, according to The Messenger, which first reported the news.
We’ve curated reporting and insights on who Uthmeier is and what his new role means for DeSantis’ campaign.
- Uthmeier has no experience managing a campaign, but has been a DeSantis adviser for years. As donors’ concerns grew, Uthmeier recently received a briefing on the campaign’s finances and delivered his assessment to DeSantis. He’s one of several governor’s office staffers who have now been shifted to a campaign job. — The New York Times
- A Politico piece from January about DeSantis’ confidantes described Uthmeier as the most influential of the governor’s three chiefs of staff. As opposed to past aides who were longtime operatives, he is seen as ”further right on the political spectrum and a better fit for DeSantis.”
- Uthmeier came under fire last month for helping raise hundreds of thousands of dollars for DeSantis’ campaign, in part by orchestrating a program in which state government officials asked lobbyists to donate. The governor’s office defended the use of state employees to fundraise for the campaign. — NBC News
- Amid stagnating poll numbers, DeSantis has been under pressure in recent weeks to show the viability of his campaign in the Republican primary. Some blamed Peck amid reports that the campaign was burning through cash, Semafor reported last month. In a major reshuffling, 38 staffers were let go, including one who shared a video with fascist imagery on Twitter. But the results of that reset “have yet to be reflected in the polls,” Politico reported.
- In addition to reshuffling his campaign operation, DeSantis is retooling his attacks against former President Donald Trump, the current Republican frontrunner. In addition to bluntly acknowledging that Trump lost the 2020 election, he is also arguing against Trump’s COVID aid package that got bipartisan support three years ago. — Semafor