In a presidential campaign shakeup, Gov. Ron DeSantis named James Uthmeier, chief of staff in the governor’s office, as campaign manager.
Uthmeier, who has worked in the governor’s office since March 2019, replaces Generra Peck, who will remain as a chief campaign strategist.
Under Peck’s leadership, the campaign has made some ghastly missteps, ranging from the ill-considered plan to put DeSantis in casual contact with fellow humans (not his strong suit) to payrolling staff who were creating and disseminating Nazi-coded content promoting DeSantis.
“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,” Andrew Romeo, a spokesman for the campaign, said in a statement Tuesday.
Uthmeier will take a leave of absence from his $195,849–a-year state job, with Department of Commerce Secretary Alex Kelly serving as acting chief of staff, according to Jeremy Redfern, a DeSantis spokesman.
DeSantis has taken steps to reboot his campaign as polling shows him trailing former President Donald Trump in the race for the Republican nomination. Real Clear Politics put polling averages for DeSantis at 15.7 percent and Trump at 53.7 percent.
The New York Times reported July 23 on the campaign’s “restart,” after NBC News a day earlier revealed a “reboot.”
The campaign manager switch was first reported online by The Messenger. In an exclusive interview with Marc Caputo, “Uthmeier shie[d] away from calling the reshuffling a ‘reboot.’ It’s a despised word in the campaign, where advisers prefer to call this the last campaign ‘reload.’”
Another telling detail from Caputo: Uthmeier has “no campaign management experience.”
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