It’s been a slog in Jacksonville. Last week, the DeSantis campaign revealed that it had defenestrated nearly a dozen staffers from its bloated Tallahassee operation after burning through most of the $20 million it raised last quarter, primarily from donors who have already maxed out. As I recently reported, the insular Ron-and-Casey family office likely wasted millions of dollars by overspending on in-house campaign infrastructure that should have been outsourced to third parties. But they clearly erred by over-hiring, too, among other sins.
By Tuesday, nearly a third of the campaign’s 90-ish-person staff had been let go. It’s the sort of highly-visible, impossible-to-ignore early-stage setback that has confirmed the fears and frustrations of Republican donors and operatives, alike, that DeSantis was untested nationally or naive or over confident or quasi-human. It’s also inflamed the sort of media feeding frenzy that campaigns strive to avoid: the time-honored, knives-are-coming-out news cycle, where everyone blames everyone else (anonymously, of course!) for the failures of the principal.
Half of the fingers are pointed at Generra Peck, the relatively untested DeSantis campaign manager in charge of the national apparatus, while the other half assign blame to Jeff Roe, the mercenary super operative in charge of the well-funded DeSantis super PAC, Never Back Down. “It is, at least in my experience, unique to have the animosity flying back and forth between the super PAC and the campaign,” a source familiar with the situation told me.