Is DeSantis’ Campaign on Life Support?
Once thought to be a serious contender to break President Trump’s hold on the GOP, Ron DeSantis’ limping campaign seems to be “on life support” as people close to him are preparing him for the blow of having to drop out.
The Florida governor’s campaign insiders say that morale has gone from bad to worse within Ron DeSantis’s presidential primary operation.
With only three weeks to go before voting begins in Iowa, the DeSantis campaign is moving from life support to hospice care, according to a brutal Sunday New York Times story, effectively amounting to the Republican Florida governor’s 2024 pre-obituary.
His longtime pollster and adviser, Ryan Tyson, has privately conceded the campaign is reaching the point where they can “make the patient comfortable,” according to The Times, which spoke to more than a dozen DeSantis advisers current and past from both the campaign and affiliated groups.
The DeSantis campaign proper and Never Back Down super PAC has been in tumult amid a series of high-profile departures and a battle of egos between two entities legally prohibited from coordinating, as we recently reported on these pages. The Times also found DeSantis’ campaign is on track to spend more on private jet travel than TV ads by the time the caucus rolls around on Jan. 15.
The PAC has since gone dark on the airwaves in Iowa and New Hampshire, pulling $2.5 million worth of ad buys, according to AdImpact.
Stuart Stevens, who helped lead Mitt Romney’s 2012 presidential bid, summed up the fundamental problem for DeSantis and his presidential ambitions.
“There was a superficial impression that DeSantis was in the mode of big-state governors who had won Republican nominations and been successful—Reagan, Bush, Romney—but DeSantis is a very different sort of creature,” Stevens told The Times. “These were positive, expansive, optimistic figures. DeSantis is not.”
If the Florida governor’s appeal was supposed to be Trump without the baggage, that’s not what voters saw.
Instead, Stevens said, they got “Ted Cruz without the personality.”