NEW YORK (AP) — Republican presidential nominee Ron DeSantis replaces his campaign manager as the Florida governor continues to reset his stagnant presidential campaign.
Florida governor is appointing James Uthmeier, his chief of staff from his state office, to serve as his campaign manager, replacing Generra Peck, who ran DeSantis’ reelection campaign last year before assuming the same role during his presidential bid.
Peck will stay on as strategist.
The changes come after DeSantis made two major staff cuts in recent weeks and laid off about a third of its staff at the end of July because the campaign ran into financial trouble.
“James Uthmeier has been one of Governor DeSantis’ top advisers for many 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 beat Joe Biden,” campaign spokesman Andrew Romeo said in a statement.
Politico received text messages in October that showed Uthmeier’s involvement last year in Florida’s program to fly migrants from Texas to Martha’s Vineyard.
NBC News reported in June that while Uthmeier remained in DeSantis’ government office, he also worked as a political fundraiser for the governor’s presidential campaign. The arrangement was unusual and government watchdog groups said it raised ethical questions.
Prior to working for DeSantis, Uthmeier worked in the Trump administration for US Secretary of Commerce Wilbur Ross, where his work on efforts to add a citizenship question to the 2020 census later became part of a congressional committee investigation .
DeSantis also hires an agent who worked on a super-PAC that supported his campaign. David Polyansky, who advised Never Back Down, will join the campaign as deputy campaign manager.
Romeo said Polyansky will be a critical addition to the team given his previous experience working in Iowa, which has become a proving ground for the DeSantis campaign.
Polyansky worked on the 2016 presidential campaigns of Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker and Texas Senator Ted Cruz. In Iowa, he helped Joni Ernst win the U.S. Senate election for the first time in 2014 and helped Arkansas Governor Mike Huckabee win in Iowa’s Republican presidential election. primaries in 2008.
Polyansky traveled with DeSantis in Iowa on Saturday to events sponsored by Never Back Down. He also attended an event where DeSantis spoke on behalf of Iowa Attorney General Brenna Bird on Saturday, as part of the Never Back Down organizing presence, aside from DeSantis’ official campaign.
The staff shake-up was first reported by The Messenger on Tuesday.
Associated Press writer Thomas Beaumont in Des Moines contributed to this report.