According to a recent establishment media analysis, the Ron DeSantis presidential campaign is closing out 2023 as a year full of layoffs, financial miscalculations, and leadership turmoil — all while the two-term Florida governor trails fellow Republican candidates in early primary states that are critical to a potential rejuvenation of his White House bid.
As outlined in an in-depth New York Times article that analyzed budgeting, staffing, and political pivots of DeSantis’s campaign, the governor’s problems were made worse this year by tumultuous partnerships with super PACs and a revolving door of senior leadership.
Citing over a dozen sources, many of which requested anonymity, The Times described DeSantis’s campaign as “a disillusioned presidential candidacy, marked by finger-pointing, fatalism and grand plans designed in a Tallahassee hotel in early spring gone awry by winter.”
From the campaign’s “glitch-plagued Twitter announcement” to a dysfunctional strategy over television advertisements in crucial primary states, DeSantis’s operation reached a particular boiling point in November.
Around that time, multiple top officials resigned and several employees were fired and publicly ridiculed by the campaign, according to The Times.
Further, tens of millions in donations were incorrectly estimated, leaving the campaign low on cash, The Times explained.
The Times story — co written by Maggie Haberman who also authored a 2022 book titled “Confidence Man: The Making of Donald Trump and the Breaking of America” — was summarized by left-wing media outlet The Daily Beast.
The Beast noted: “With only three weeks to go before voting begins in Iowa, the DeSantis campaign is moving from life support to hospice care … effectively amounting to the Republican Florida governor’s 2024 pre-obituary.”
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Haberman, with 1.6 million followers on X, wrote in a post that DeSantis’s campaign has been plagued with financial missteps as a “hybrid of super PAC and campaign pushing legal boundaries.” Shane Goldmacher, a co author with Haberman, also posted about “the strategic miscalculations, audacious if not arrogant assumptions and ‘Frankenstein’ structure that has hobbled the Florida governor’s 2024 run.”
In the days following The Times’s piece, other pundits such as The Washington Post’s Issac Arnsdorf called out “clear signs that money is a big concern” for the campaign.
“It’s hard to see, unless DeSantis really pulls a rabbit out of his hat and, somehow, not just has a strong second, but really pulls something incredible off, it’s hard to see where the campaign goes from there,” Arnsdorf told CNN.
A DeSantis spokesperson denied the campaign is in disarray, adding that “DeSantis has been underestimated in every race he’s ever run and always proved the doubters wrong.”
So where is the campaign money going?
The Times, citing federal documents, described how “by the time of the Iowa caucuses, the DeSantis campaign is on pace to spend significantly more on private jets — the governor’s preferred mode of travel — than on airing television ads.”
Additionally, a major cash audit is underway.
Per a source familiar with the matter, a senior advisor has been leading an audit of super PAC finances and operations.