A campaign official and a person familiar with the move revealed to HEADLINESFOREVER that Ron DeSantis has fired Generra Peck as campaign manager, marking the third major reshuffling of his operations.
As part of the new structure, Peck will be promoted to the position of chief strategist. James Uthmeier, who has been DeSantis’ chief of staff as governor, will take over the campaign from her. Uthmeier assured me through text message that the adjustment would be made “ASAP.”
The announcement comes just weeks after the DeSantis campaign and trusted advisors insisted that Peck’s position was safe, despite the fact that the team had laid off a third of its employees due to a lack of funds and uncertainty about its future course.
Team Governor has promised to pull back, establish an insurgency operation, and increase their efforts to reach out to the mainstream media. It’s been completed by them. However, the results have not yet shown up in surveys.
The dismissal of Peck was originally reported by The Messenger, and a source close to the campaign who requested anonymity stated it was “no surprise. The timing was off by a few weeks.
Campaign spokesperson Andrew Romeo also confirmed the staff changes, saying, “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.”
DeSantis’s super PAC, Never Back Down, employed David Polyansky, who will now join the campaign.
Uthmeier, who reportedly reviewed campaign operations prior to the transition, has the “trust” of DeSantis and his wife, Casey, and is also well-regarded by campaign employees, according to a source with knowledge of the matter. They said that Peck had “lost [the] confidence” of the campaign team and that there was “managerial angst” among the staff.
Uthmeier will serve as the “CEO” of the campaign, but “senior vice presidents” Polyansky and Marc Reichelderfer, a seasoned political consultant from Tallahassee, will provide national campaign experience to the team. The prominent presence of respected pollster Ryan Tyson is also anticipated.
Uthmeier, who was previously the governor’s general attorney, has been DeSantis’ chief of staff since October 2021. The governor’s controversial programme to transport migrants from Texas to Martha’s Vineyard last year was one of his pet projects, and he was heavily involved in it.
While Uthmeier did serve as a senior consultant to former Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross, his primary expertise lies in law rather than political campaign management.
According to the governor’s office, Uthmeier is not permanently resigning from his position as chief of staff but is instead taking a leave of absence to focus on the campaign. While Uthmeier works out of the campaign’s Tallahassee headquarters, Alex Kelly, a former senior deputy to DeSantis who was recently appointed to be secretary of the Department of Commerce, will serve as interim chief of staff.
DeSantis, who has a small inner circle, has previously relied on members of his administration to further his bid for the presidency.
Longtime director of legislative affairs Stephanie Kopelousos joined the DeSantis campaign in early July, and the governor’s communications director Taryn Fenske went to work for the super PAC supporting DeSantis, Never Back Down.
During a retreat at the end of last month in Utah, Peck tried to reassure contributors and supporters. She stated during the event that the campaign would adopt a more “insurgent” style of operation after spending too much money on a publicity blitz.
Since then, DeSantis has relied on more intimate campaign events, sometimes in tandem with Never Back Down, and has granted interviews to major news sites. While a top administration spokeswoman had called for a boycott of NBC News, DeSantis granted an interview to the network this week.
State Democratic Party Chair Nikki Fried called Uthmeier’s leave of absence “a blatant middle finger to the people of Florida — who’s actually going to run the state while he’s gone?” It can’t be Ron, that’s for sure.
For allegedly trying to get funds from lobbyists and legislators for DeSantis’ presidential campaign, Fried had already filed ethics complaints against Uthmeier and Kopelousos.
DeSantis has promised to push forward in early states like Iowa, New Hampshire, and South Carolina despite polls showing him lagging former President Donald Trump.
DeSantis told NBC News this week, in response to questions about the difficulties in his campaign so far, that “I would much rather be underestimated” while shrugging aside some of his poll results.