- Gov. Ron DeSantis fired national Campaign Manager Generra Peck on Tuesday, replacing her with James Uthmeier, the state administration Chief of Staff.
- Peck will transition to a strategist role following a series of unsuccessful campaign resets aimed at shifting the messaging towards a comparison between Florida’s economy and the national landscape.
- Uthmeier, a key advisor to DeSantis, will take unpaid leave from his Tallahassee role to join the campaign
Gov. Ron DeSantis removed Generra Peck, who led the governor’s gubernatorial reelection campaign, from her role as national Campaign Manager on Tuesday, replacing her with state administration Chief of Staff James Uthmeier
As confirmed by the campaign to The Capitolist, Peck will move into a strategist role within the operation. The move comes after a series of failed ‘resets’ undertaken by the campaign that sought to refocus core messaging toward a comparison between Florida and the national economic landscape. Amidst the faltering rhetorical shift, DeSantis’ campaign laid off nearly a third of its staff.
“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,” said campaign spokesperson Andrew Romeo.
Uthmeier is reportedly not resigning from his role in Tallahassee, instead engaging in an unpaid “leave of absence” to join the DeSantis campaign. He has captained the governor’s stateside Chief of Staff since October of 2021 after providing general counsel services to the administration beginning in 2019. Through Uthmeier’s leave, Department of Commerce Secretary Alex Kelly will serve as acting Chief of Staff.
Of note, Uthmeier — one of the governor’s staunchest allies — caught flack in June after it was revealed by NBC News that he helped raise at least $423,042 for DeSantis’ presidential campaign in the hours after the May 24 launch. The report alleged that Uthmeier helped orchestrate a political fundraising program within the administration that involved requesting officials across state government to ask lobbyists by text message to contribute money to the campaign, raising potential campaign finance concerns that were ultimately dismissed.
DeSantis’ campaign concurrently hired political operative David Polyansky as Deputy Campaign Manager while Ryan Tyson and Marc Reichelderfer were granted “elevated roles.”
“People have written Governor DeSantis’s obituary many times,” Uthmeier said in a statement to The Messenger. “From his race against establishment primary candidate Adam Putnam, to his victory over legacy media-favored candidate Andrew Gillum [in 2018], to his twenty-point win over Charlie Crist [in 2022], Governor DeSantis has proven that he knows how to win. He’s breaking records on fundraising and has a supporting super PAC with $100 million in the bank and an incredible ground game. Get ready.”
As of this writing, DeSantis sits in a distant second place to former President Donald Trump, who is polling at 53 percent, with just 15 percent of the voter share according to aggregator FiveThirtyEight. As primary season approaches, DeSantis’ campaign is engaging in an all-out push for Iowa — the first primary state — in an attempt to recoup lost support.