DeSantis replaces campaign manager as he scrambles to catch Trump

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Republican presidential candidate Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis speaks during the Moms for Liberty Joyful Warriors national summit at the Philadelphia Marriott Downtown on June 30, 2023 in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.

Michael M. Santiago | Getty Images

Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis is replacing his presidential campaign manager as he struggles to close his polling gap with former President Donald Trump and faces growing concerns from top donors.

Generra Peck, who was instrumental to DeSantis’ sweeping gubernatorial reelection last year but has come under fire as the head of his White House bid, is being replaced by James Uthmeier, who was chief of staff for the governor’s office.

Political strategist David Polyansky, who was working for the pro-DeSantis super political action committee Never Back Down, is being hired as Uthmeier’s deputy campaign manager, the campaign confirmed Tuesday.

Peck will remain as DeSantis’ chief campaign strategist, according to The Messenger, which first reported on the change in management.

Uthmeier has no prior experience running a political campaign. He had been in the chief of staff role for just over a year, according to his LinkedIn page.

The top-down shakeup comes after DeSantis’ 10-week-old campaign has fired dozens of staffers in what has become a protracted campaign reboot reportedly prompted in part by money concerns.

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“James Uthmeier has been one of Governor DeSantis’ top advisors for years and he is needed where it matters most: working hand in hand with Generra Peck and the rest of the team to put the governor in the best possible position to win this primary and defeat Joe Biden,” communications director Andrew Romeo said in a statement to CNBC.

“David Polyansky will also be a critical addition to the team given his presidential campaign experience in Iowa and work at Never Back Down,” Romeo said. “We are excited about these additions as we continue to spread the governor’s message across the country. It’s time to reverse our nation’s decline and revive America’s future.”

Uthmeier will take the reins just weeks before the first Republican presidential debate, which is set for Aug. 23 in Milwaukee. Many of the candidates have homed in on the debates as a critical opportunity to crack through to the top of the primary field, which has so far been dominated by Trump.

The former president has signaled he is leaning toward skipping the debates.

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