The takeover: Susie Wiles now in charge of Ron DeSantis campaign

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Roughly two years ago, veteran Jacksonville political operative Susie Wiles took the helm of the Donald Trump Florida campaign, guiding that effort to a slim but still meaningful win.

On Wednesday, Florida Politics broke the news that Wiles will assume the chair of the Ron DeSantis campaign for Governor during the final stretch.

The campaign confirmed the reporting early evening.

“I’m excited to have Susie join our team as Campaign Chairman. She has the knowledge, expertise and acumen to carry our message to voters all across Florida. With her winning record, Susie is the ideal person to lead our campaign efforts and help us secure a big victory come November,” DeSantis said.

“Florida’s future depends on building upon the successes of our state’s outstanding Republican leadership. Ron DeSantis is the only candidate who will lead Florida forward and help our state and its people realize their full potential. With so much at stake for our state in this election, I am honored to lead his campaign team, and look forward to working with Floridians everywhere to elect Ron as our next governor,” said Wiles.

“Keeping Florida’s positive momentum is critically important and I believe Ron DeSantis as Florida’s next Governor will do that,” Wiles added.

DeSantis’ situation mirrors that of Trump when Wiles came aboard: a strong candidate with an operation moving from the base appeal of the primary to finding a way to bring in the swing voters.

Wiles ran Gov. Rick Scott‘s successful 2010 campaign, and back in 2016, Scott lauded the Wiles hire for Trump.

“What Susie’s good at is organization. She’s good at getting a lot of people to volunteer. She’s going to do a great job,” Scott told us.

Indeed, the Trump campaign organization — much maligned through the primaries — managed a timely turnaround.

Another skill Wiles has that she demonstrated during the Trump campaign: an ability for damage control and explaining away verbal gaffes.

DeSantis has bemoaned “McCarthyite” tactics from the media, which he thinks reports on his campaign with more scrutiny than that given to Democrat Andrew Gillum. And Wiles is exceptional at adjusting narratives during the campaign news cycle.

With six weeks to go, polls have gotten increasingly ugly for the three-term Northeast Florida Congressman. NBC News has him down five points; Quinnipiac has him down nine. Swing voters and women are breaking Gillum’s way.

Can Wiles spur the turnaround?

The Florida Democratic Party refers to Wiles as a “fixer” from “Trumpworld.”

“No matter how many Trumpworld fixers he hires, Ron DeSantis can’t change one basic fact: his record is toxic. Floridians don’t want a governor whose only accomplishment in Congress is defending Donald Trump on Fox and voting to take away health care. Trump can’t save you, Ron,” said FDP spokesperson Kevin Donohoe.

With reports that the President and his frequent Fox News advocate have split over the death toll after last year’s Hurricane Maria, it is not wholly certain that “Trumpworld” sent Wiles in.

Rather, it seems like Wiles is playing a role she’s played off and on again, working to bring order to a campaign that was successful in the primary with a more ad hoc strategy than the Adam Putnam side, but which is still trying to find its sea legs in the general.

A.G. Gancarski

A.G. Gancarski has written for since 2014. He is based in Northeast Florida. He can be reached at [email protected] or on Twitter: @AGGancarski


  • Tracey Arpen

    September 26, 2018 at 5:41 pm

    Susie did great work while working for Jacksonville Mayors John Delaney and John Peyton. Since then, however, she played a big part in inflicting Rick Scott and Donald Trump on us. Just when you think it can’t get any worse… does!

    • Rick Fletcher

      October 6, 2018 at 12:53 pm

      Big supporter and a contributor. But Orlando conservatives are appalled at the lack of an office or real presence in Orlando. Many of us, supporters and wanting to help more, can’t even get in touch with the invisible campaign in Orlando area.
      Rick Fletcher
      407 6167720
      [email protected]

  • Marilyn

    September 26, 2018 at 8:26 pm

    I think DeSantis’ campaign needed a fresh outlook. He needs to tell voters what he wants to do and how he’s going to do it. People already know the negatives about Gillum but we want to hear the positives about DeSantis. If he wants my vote, let him tell me why I should vote for him. And I want him to show some energy and enthusiasm when he does it.

    • Jim

      September 27, 2018 at 1:34 am

      I’m willing to help in a big way but the reach out to date has been pathetic I can bundle but you folks have been concerning about your organization

      • Karen Olson

        September 27, 2018 at 7:08 am

        Really infuriates me that local events in Jacksonville like the Home & Patio Show & Duval County Fair & others refuse to sell or donate table space to political candidates. This is such a huge disservice to the public who are craving information ❗️

      • Karen Olson

        September 27, 2018 at 7:15 am

        Jim, If you are in Jacksonville you can stop by the Republican office at 10111-06 San Jose at Crown Point between Five Guys & Village Bread. We are staffed with volunteers and Candidate representatives who will be more than happy to provide you with any assistance you need or want. If this isn’t convenient please feel free to call me at 904–483–0116 Karen Olson.

  • Edi Meadows

    September 28, 2018 at 7:21 am

    Rom de Santos is great for Florida and Suzie Wiles can help him get there! Hurrah!
    Let’s get this done.

  • Lee P Emery

    September 28, 2018 at 11:12 pm

    I would like to perform volunteer work for Ron DeSantis’ campaign. Please contact me.

  • stanley swies

    September 29, 2018 at 10:35 am

    I ran the campaign in the Villages Fl for Ron and Scott in the primaries. We have 150,000 people. I tried to get handouts for the volunteers for the last month with no luck. Ron won all three of our counties by an average of 53% even though the developer was backing Putnam. We worked the postal stations and 3 squares in the Villages. Have someone contact me!

  • George and Mary Jane Duryea

    October 1, 2018 at 10:13 am

    I called Seminole Co.unty’s Republican Headquarters to fine out where I could get a DeSantis sign for my yard. They don’t have any, and that explains why there are no DeSantis signs up that I can see in Seminole County. Hopefully I can get one by next weekend. Please get them out.

  • James Melican

    October 3, 2018 at 5:58 am

    I am a Naples resident, and want to contribute to the Santos campaign. Also willing to help out in working within Collier County, but do not know who to contact.

Comments are closed.


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