DeSantis Replaces Campaign Manager in Major Shake-Up

by Pelican Press
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Gov. Ron DeSantis of Florida has replaced his campaign manager, Generra Peck, in the latest shake-up in his weekslong attempt to reinvigorate his struggling bid for the White House.

The chief of staff in the governor’s office, James Uthmeier, one of Mr. DeSantis’s most trusted aides, will be replacing Ms. Peck, the campaign confirmed in a statement. Mr. Uthmeier previously served as general counsel to the governor and worked in the Trump administration. The Messenger earlier reported the move.

Ms. Peck, who will stay on as the campaign’s chief strategist, had drawn heavy criticism from Mr. DeSantis’s allies and donors after heavy spending led to a fund-raising shortfall. In response, the campaign had to lay off more than a third of its staff and start holding smaller events — a leaner operation more suited to a candidate who is trailing well behind the front-runner, former President Donald J. Trump.

In 2022, Ms. Peck oversaw Mr. DeSantis’s overwhelming re-election as governor. But she had never run a presidential campaign. The changes are the third major shift in the structure of the DeSantis campaign in recent weeks, after the layoffs and the departure of other senior members of his early 2024 team.

“James Uthmeier has been one of Gov. DeSantis’s top advisers for years, and he is needed where it matters most: working hand in hand with Generra Peck and the rest of the team to put the governor in the best possible position to win this primary and defeat Joe Biden,” Andrew Romeo, the campaign’s communications director, said in a statement.

In addition, an adviser working for the main super PAC backing Mr. DeSantis, David Polyansky, who works with the group’s main strategist, Jeff Roe, will join the campaign.

Mr. Polyansky, who had been overseeing the super PAC’s early state operations, was on the trail in recent weeks with Mr. DeSantis as the group, Never Back Down, put together a bus tour for the governor. After the campaign’s cash crunch, the super PAC began taking over many of the functions normally associated with a campaign, like organizing retail stops and speaking events.

“David Polyansky will also be a critical addition to the team, given his presidential campaign experience in Iowa and work at Never Back Down,” Mr. Romeo said.

Ms. Peck had come under fire for building a campaign team so quickly that Mr. DeSantis was forced to lay off aides only two months into his candidacy.

The campaign’s finances were so worrying that Mr. Uthmeier, while still chief of staff, received a personal briefing on its finances from Ethan Eilon, now the deputy campaign manager, and then delivered an assessment to the governor.

James Uthmeier previously served as general counsel to Mr. DeSantis and worked in the Trump administration.Credit…MA and F Collection 2018, via Alamy

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