Watch CBS News

Ron DeSantis campaign fires staffers after fundraising shows high spending rate

DeSantis lays off staffers amid slow 2024 start
DeSantis lays off staffers amid slow start to campaign 02:13

Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis' campaign fired several staffers on Thursday, a sign that the campaign is retooling after continually lagging former President Donald Trump in polling and after a fundraising quarter in which the campaign spent nearly 40% of what they raised. 

While the exact number of staffers is unknown, the campaign confirmed on Saturday that fewer than 10 staffers were laid off. The staffers were involved with event planning, the campaign said. The news was first reported by Politico.

"Never Back Down," the super PAC backing DeSantis, has received resumes from some of the staffers laid off, a person familiar with the group confirmed. Two other staffers, media advisor Dave Abrams and advisor Tucker Obenshain, left the group earlier this week to help a non-profit that will support DeSantis' run.

The DeSantis campaign reported $20.1 million raised between April through June and spent $7.87 million in the same timeframe. Their filing reported $674,941.63 going towards 92 staffers on the payroll. About $1 million was for payments for WinRed, the main online fundraising platform for Republicans.

Republican Presidential Candidate Ron DeSantis Campaigns In Iowa
Republican presidential candidate Florida Governor Ron DeSantis (C) and U.S. Rep. Zach Nunn (R) listen to the National Anthem at Nunn's "Operation Top Nunn: Salute to Our Troops" fundraiser on July 15, 2023 in Ankeny, Iowa.  Scott Olson / Getty Images

It also showed payments for digital fundraising consulting to 21 vendors (a total of $883,628 in payments), $867,583 for media placements, over $845,000 for travel and $730,498 for direct mailers.

DeSantis campaign spokesperson Andrew Romeo wrote in a statement that momentum for DeSantis "will only continue as voters see more of him in-person, especially in Iowa."

"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," he added. 

"The DeSantis campaign's finance officials gave fundraisers and bundlers a short briefing on Saturday night to talk about "leaner operations," according to one DeSantis bundler who said they were encouraged by the "slight adjustment of strategy."  

"Never Back Down," the super PAC backing DeSantis that has a larger footprint of staffers, announced it had raised $130 million since launching in early March. A bulk of this, $82.5 million was transferred from the coffers of his state political committee account, "Friends of Ron DeSantis." The super PAC has until the end of July to file a fundraising report. 

Asked on Fox News on Sunday about the reports of staffers being let go, DeSantis said "the media does not want me to be the nominee."

"I think it's interesting that they're talking about some of this campaign process," he said about the reports, before noting the high totals of his fundraising haul.

View CBS News In
CBS News App Open
Chrome Safari Continue
Be the first to know
Get browser notifications for breaking news, live events, and exclusive reporting.