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DeSantis super PAC shakes up staff as campaign looks toward South Carolina

Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis’s campaign and the super PAC supporting him saw some shake-ups in their respective operations Wednesday.

The New York Times reported Wednesday that Never Back Down, the super PAC supporting the governor, was laying off some staff following the Iowa caucuses Monday.

An official with the super PAC appeared to confirm the layoffs to The Hill, saying that some of their political staff in Iowa had been transferred to other early states while the rest were offered pay through the end of the month.

“Never Back Down continues to host a slew of events on the ground for Gov. DeSantis in South Carolina, New Hampshire, and beyond aligned with our core mission of mobilizing grassroots field operations in those states,” Never Back Down CEO Scott Wagner said in a statement.

“We’ve mobilized several members of our robust Iowa team over to the other early primary states to help in these efforts and will continue working to help elect Gov. DeSantis, the most effective conservative leader in the race, our next President,” he added.

In the Times report, it was not clear how many employees were being laid off.

Meanwhile, a senior DeSantis campaign official confirmed Wednesday that most of the Florida governor’s campaign staff would be relocating to South Carolina, former U.N. Ambassador Nikki Haley’s home state. The official confirmed that DeSantis would be in the Palmetto State on Saturday and Sunday after a brief stay in Florida to attend a ceremony for Florida Supreme Court Justice Meredith Sasso.

The news of DeSantis’s campaign operation moving to South Carolina and his campaigning in the state were first reported by CBS News.

The decision to move most of the Florida governor’s campaign staff to South Carolina means that DeSantis is prioritizing the southern state over New Hampshire, seeing South Carolina as a better opportunity to perform well than the Granite State, where polls show him largely behind former President Trump and Haley, and where DeSantis hopes to best the South Carolina Republican.

An average of South Carolina surveys compiled by Decision Desk HQ and The Hill show Trump at 54 percent support, Haley at 25 percent and DeSantis at 9.4 percent.

DeSantis’s second place finish in Iowa has raised questions about the future of his presidential bid, while some experts see New Hampshire as a do-or-die situation for Haley. Both candidates face an uphill battle in toppling Trump as the early-state nominating contests ramp up.

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