OPINION: This article may contain commentary which reflects the author’s opinion.
A new report notes that the campaign of Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis, once hailed as the one 2024 GOP presidential contender who had a shot at beating former President Donald Trump, has gotten another round of bad news.
“Last year, after midterm elections in which many candidates backed by Donald Trump lost while Gov. Ron DeSantis enjoyed a comfortable re-election victory, the Murdoch media empire — which includes Fox News, the New York Post, the Wall Street Journal, and other outlets — began to favor DeSantis and oppose Trump,” the site 1945 noted, adding that the Murdoch family has now begun to sour on the Republican governor as he campaign stalls and lays off personnel.
“The conservative media kingmakers’ preferred candidate to knock off Donald Trump is not meeting expectations, and the family’s patriarch is getting tired of waiting,” Rolling Stone reported, citing several alleged sources within the Murdoch world of companies.
The magazine’s report reveals that Rupert Murdoch has been involved in discussions expressing concerns about DeSantis, especially after the Florida governor declared his official entry into the presidential race. Murdoch specifically pointed out DeSantis’ “awkward” public demeanor and his thus far unsuccessful “attempts to connect with the American voter.”
“Rupert’s understandable worry is that we may end up being stuck with Trump anyway,” a Fox News source reportedly told Rolling Stone. “And DeSantis is underperforming. Anybody can see that…, they’re seeing it, too.”
The magazine further stated that the change in sentiment towards DeSantis is now starting to manifest in the coverage of the GOP primary campaigns within Murdoch’s media enterprises.
“Ron DeSantis was built up as the Trump-slayer. So if he’s not immediately leading Trump in the polls, it’s easy to see how that can easily be spun as a let-down,” Doug Heye, a former communications director at the Republican National Committee, told Rolling Stone.
“There are a lot of people who are trying to write the obituary of a well-funded and popular figure in the party before the debates have even started. Ron was the designated dragon-slayer — and because he hasn’t slayed the dragon before the debates have begun, he’s being portrayed as a failure. And I think it’s too early for that,” Heye added.
Trump, meanwhile, has been steadily garnering more support, according to polls, while DeSantis sinks. That has caused the GOP governor to adjust his campaign staff in a dramatic way as his 2024 presidential campaign appears to be faltering even before the first GOP debate.
According to a Tuesday report, DeSantis has been forced to lay off one-third of his staff even as his campaign burns through funds in an attempt to woo enough GOP voters to remain viable heading into the primary season.
“Multiple media outlets have reported that DeSantis has had to go around and explain his faltering campaign to his big donors over threats of cutting off the spigot,” one report noted.
Advisers have confirmed that a total of 38 jobs will be cut across various departments. This includes approximately 10 event planning positions that were announced a few weeks ago, as well as the recent departures of two senior DeSantis campaign advisers, Dave Abrams and Tucker Obenshain, POLITICO reported.
“Following a top-to-bottom review of our organization, we have taken additional, aggressive steps to streamline operations and put Ron DeSantis in the strongest position to win this primary and defeat Joe Biden,” DeSantis campaign manager Generra Peck noted in a statement to the outlet.
“Gov. DeSantis is going to lead the Great American Comeback and we’re ready to hit the ground running as we head into an important month of the campaign,” he added.
The increased cuts indicate that the Florida governor’s team is now focusing on streamlining their operations due to financial concerns. The campaign recently reported raising $20 million in the second quarter of this year; however, a substantial portion of that amount has already been spent.