Ron DeSantis slashes staff as presidential campaign sputters
Tallahassee, Florida - Republican presidential candidate and Florida Governor Ron DeSantis has cut about a third of his campaign staff as his bid for the White House spirals downhill amid grim poll numbers and sudden financial worries.
DeSantis has axed 38 staffers and instituted new cost-cutting measures as his campaign tries to revive its once-powerful challenge to former president Donald Trump.
"Following a top-to-bottom review of our organization, we have taken additional, aggressive steps to streamline operations and put Ron DeSantis in the strongest position to win this primary and defeat Joe Biden," DeSantis campaign manager Generra Peck said in a statement.
The DeSantis campaign, which is clinging to second place in polls as other potential contenders rise, had earlier admitted to cutting only about 10 staffers.
The so-called reboot also includes cutbacks on travel costs and an emphasis on smaller campaign events.
On the same day the changes were made, DeSantis was involved in a car accident on Tuesday on his way to a campaign rally event in Chattanooga, Tennessee. A police spokesperson told the New York Times that DeSantis was traveling in a four-car motorcade. When traffic slowed down, the cars collided with each other.
The governor was reportedly not injured. One employee was slightly injured but was able to attend the event with DeSantis as planned and receive treatment there.
DeSantis campaign experiences financial difficulties
DeSantis had long been seen as Trump's main rival and a potentially potent challenger to Biden in the general election.
Some polls in the aftermath of DeSantis' landslide reelection in Florida put him within striking distance or even leading Trump.
But after waiting months to jump into the contest, DeSantis stumbled out of the gate with a campaign launch on Twitter that was plagued by technical glitches.
His poll numbers have continued to sag as he has introduced himself to Republicans in early voting states like Iowa, New Hampshire, and South Carolina.
The first major test of the GOP race is looming in an August 23 debate. Trump has threatened to skip the contest, which could result in DeSantis becoming a major target for the rest of the field.
DeSantis' apparent financial woes come as a surprise to most political observers.
The DeSantis campaign raised $20 million in the first six weeks after he entered the race, but it burned through nearly half that amount in a spending spree that included a staff of 100 and luxury travel on private jets and pricey hotels.
Cover photo: REUTERS