All hands on deck: Ron DeSantis campaign staffs up for final sprint


The Ron DeSantis campaign has added a plethora of high-power politicos for the closing weeks of the race for Florida Governor, including reinforcements in campaign communications and political consulting.

Under the leadership of Susie Wiles, who helmed Donald Trump’s Florida campaign two years ago, Team DeSantis has added numerous campaign veterans. Wiles started bringing on key staffers shortly after taking the chair position on the Republican gubernatorial campaign, onboarding Jennifer Locetta to oversee operations and Tim Page to manage local and national surrogates.

Also among the new faces joining the Republican nominee’s campaign is Matt Parker, who will serve as Team DeSantis’ senior consultant for all things related to field operations.

“These staffers are the best of the best and dropped everything to come join this team. They know what’s at stake in Florida and gladly offered their help a few weeks ago,” Wiles said. “I am proud to have them on the DeSantis team and Ron is grateful for their willingness to help.”

Lending their talents in consulting are veteran GOP operative Pat Bainter of Data Targeting Inc. and longtime Florida GOP strategists David JohnsonRich Heffley and Jim Rimes, who has been described as “the hardest working guy in the business” and as “the most understated and underrated political consultant in the state.”

Wiles didn’t disclose the exact responsibilities of the additions to the consultant corps so as not to reveal the campaign’s strategy in the closing stretch, but she said “we are very grateful to have them on the team. DJ, Rich, and Pat are tested strategists with many wins under their belts. This expanded team is made up the leadership of winning GOP campaigns in Florida.”

The new additions back up campaign manager Brad Herold, senior campaign adviser James Blair and communications director Stephen Lawson, political director Jordan Wiggins, strategist Tim Baker and GOP communications expert Sarah Bascom and her team at Bascom Communications.

DeSantis and his LG pick, state Rep. Jeanette Nuñez, are up against Democratic nominee Andrew Gillum and running mate Chris King in the general election.

Most polls have shown Gillum with a slight lead — RealClearPolitics’ average of all public polling the Tallahassee mayor up 3.7 percentage points — though DeSantis has recently surged in fundraising thanks to a $5 million check from Chicago billionaire Kenneth Griffin, fueling him up for the final stretch.

Election Day is Nov. 6.

Drew Wilson

Drew Wilson covers legislative campaigns and fundraising for Florida Politics. He is a former editor at The Independent Florida Alligator and business correspondent at The Hollywood Reporter. Wilson, a University of Florida alumnus, covered the state economy and Legislature for LobbyTools and The Florida Current prior to joining Florida Politics.


  • Doreen Westcott

    October 16, 2018 at 1:29 pm

    How will the panhandle be able to vote when they are all displaced after Hurricane Micheal?
    I volunteered making calls for Trump and Rubio 2016, is there a call center for Ron DeSantis.
    I am handicapped but I can make calls.

  • Doug c

    October 16, 2018 at 8:04 pm

    Is Ron still running for governor. I live in the panhandle and have not seen anything on him in over three weeks. With just weeks to go he needs to do something. I would like to see him as governor but he me and others on the west coast of Florida, but.

    • Mary Giuliani

      October 18, 2018 at 9:30 pm

      Im in Sarasota and have not heard anything. No commercial any more ? What the hell is going on

  • Teri Hughes

    October 17, 2018 at 9:52 am

    Where is Ron’s ground game? I have requested on multiple occasions to volunteer for his campaign. I received one phone call and no follow up. God help FL if Gillum wins this race.

    • Donna Williams

      October 17, 2018 at 11:19 am

      Doug, yes, he is still running. He has a lot of TV ads. Contact your local GOP office and tell them to put signs out by you.

      Teri, contact your local GOP office. They would love the help!

    • Mary Giuliani

      October 18, 2018 at 9:31 pm

      What happened to DeSantis????

  • d guterman

    October 18, 2018 at 9:11 pm

    is ron really against insurance companies not covering pre existing conditions?
    refute the ads
    let everyday floridians say in ads why they’re voting for ron

    undecided voter/moderate republican

  • T. Tetryl

    October 23, 2018 at 9:43 am

    Saw the debate the other night. That did not go well for Desantis. He was squirming and did not seem comfortable. Wonder if his campaign can be saved by these folks.

  • Valentine G Mount

    October 24, 2018 at 2:27 pm

    I, too, am wondering where Ron’s ground game is. I signed up to volunteer 2 days ago. I even spoke with the regional supervisor, Joe LaFauci. I have had no follow-up. I know Mr. DeSantis was on Fox news speaking nationally, but we really need him getting around Florida so people can see and hear him. The alternative is unacceptable.

  • William c. Richardson

    October 25, 2018 at 10:59 pm

    Some one is dropping the ball. Get your campaign up and running, or we will have to put up with this Tallahassee clown running our State and our citizens in the ground. Go man Go I know you can do it-I’ve seen you on Fox News so many times defending our great President Donald J. Trump.

Comments are closed.


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