DeSantis Campaign Fires Staff Amid Big Fundraising Quarter, Dipping Poll Numbers

The DeSantis campaign for president has hit a stagnant patch over the past few weeks, and a recent shake-up among staff – including firings and restructuring – is drawing attention.

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But while the DeSantis campaign is being called “cash-strapped” by some media outlets, the fundraising numbers indicate the shuffle may be more aligned with a pivot and re-allocation of resources rather than a response to a lack of money. DeSantis raised $20 million in the second quarter, outpacing former president Donald Trump’s $17.7 million.

A Super PAC supporting DeSantis, meanwhile, is sitting on roughly $130 million. The concern for DeSantis donors and supporters is whether or not he can start to break through his stagnant numbers.

Why it matters: Republican support for DeSantis has dipped below the 20% mark in RCP’s average of polls for the first time since mid-May. The popular GOP governor’s months-long, downward trajectory has stirred speculation that he’s destined for a Scott Walker-like flameout.

Driving the news: DeSantis’ team sought to reassure donors about the state of the race yesterday in Tallahassee, Florida, where officials emphasized that presidential campaigns go through growing pains, Bloomberg reports.

An internal assessment of the campaign indicated the DeSantis team hired too many staffers too quickly in the beginning. While the Q2 numbers are good, $3 million of that $20 million are earmarked for the general election, and most of the money came from big donors rather than small-dollar donors.

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The change in staff – with signs that many of those let go are simply shifting to the Never Back Down PAC behind DeSantis – comes as the candidate is also re-focusing his attention to a “Great American Comeback” rather than the heavy focus on the culture war topics his campaign is most known for. That shift in tone comes as DeSantis appears to have hit his ceiling in the polls and is searching for a way to chip away more of Trump’s lead.

That was the subject of his campaign launch, but his messaging on things other than the culture war issues that inspired his rise has not broken through to American voters.

The Florida governor is also sitting down for an interview with CNN’s Jake Tapper today, the network announced over the weekend.

Republican presidential candidate Ron DeSantis will sit down with CNN’s Jake Tapper on Tuesday for an exclusive interview, the network announced Sunday.

As the Florida governor travels across the country for his presidential bid, Tapper will talk to DeSantis following a campaign event in Columbia, South Carolina. The interview will air on “The Lead” on Tuesday, July 18, at 4 p.m. ET.

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DeSantis is looking for a route past Trump in the Republican primary while simultaneously fending off attacks from the rest of the field. That could prove tough, but the campaign has been vocal about the governor getting the job done.

“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,” DeSantis campaign spokesman Andrew Romeo said in a statement.

If DeSantis is that nimble candidate, however, he will need to start showing it. The campaign’s hopes may depend on this reset.

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