Florida Dems slam latest move from Ron DeSantis state office to campaign
Conflict for Governor, Commish.

DeSantis Fried 3.25.21
Nikki Fried called James Uthmeier's move a 'blatant middle finger to the people of Florida.'

Florida Democrats are slamming the latest personnel shift from Gov. Ron DeSantis’ state office to his presidential campaign.

Nikki Fried, Florida Democratic Party (FDP) Chair, criticized the decision for DeSantis’ state Chief of Staff to take a leave of absence to help with the Governor’s political ambitions. The campaign announced earlier that James Uthmeier has replaced Generra Peck as DeSantis’ Campaign Manager.

“In the time since we filed complaints against Ron’s administration, two of the three people accused of ignoring ethics rules have left to join his failing campaign,” Fried said.

She alluded to Florida Commission on Ethics complaints filed by FDP against Uthmeier, Legislative Affairs Director Stephanie Kopelousos and Policy and Budget Director Chris Spencer. The filings followed reports members of the Governor’s staff solicited donations and endorsements for DeSantis’ presidential campaign from lobbyists and lawmakers while staff reviewed the state budget.

Fried said a move directly from DeSantis’ official office to the campaign should be viewed as a slap in the face to constituents.

“The fact that James Uthmeier is being allowed to take a ‘leave of absence’ to do campaign work is a blatant middle finger to the people of Florida,” she said. “Who’s actually going to run the state while he’s gone? It’s certainly not Ron.”

Of note, the Governor’s Office has announced a transition in leadership — at least for now. Commerce Secretary Alex Kelly will serve as Acting Chief of Staff while Uthmeier takes a leave of absence for his new political role. Kelly previously worked as Deputy Chief of Staff in the Governor’s Office before taking on his current role earlier this year.

Fried took a poke at DeSantis’ continued underperformance in polls, and suggested hiring Uthmeier was just one more bad decision by the Governor’s campaign.

“Ron continues to make decisions that can only be described as campaign malpractice,” Fried said. “James Uthmeier has no experience running campaigns, and now he’s in charge of a presidential race? Being Ron’s security blanket isn’t exactly a skillset that can help win the GOP nomination — good luck even making it to Iowa.”

Fried last year ran for the chance to challenge DeSantis for Governor, but lost the Democratic nomination to Charlie Crist, who went on to lose to DeSantis.

Jacob Ogles

Jacob Ogles has covered politics in Florida since 2000 for regional outlets including SRQ Magazine in Sarasota, The News-Press in Fort Myers and The Daily Commercial in Leesburg. His work has appeared nationally in The Advocate, Wired and other publications. Events like SRQ’s Where The Votes Are workshops made Ogles one of Southwest Florida’s most respected political analysts, and outlets like WWSB ABC 7 and WSRQ Sarasota have featured his insights. He can be reached at [email protected].


  • PeterH

    August 8, 2023 at 2:57 pm

    As reported by CNN today …. James Uthmeier has absolutely no experience running a national campaign for President! DeSantis is reaching down into Florida’s magical rabbit hole looking for an known ally to rescue his campaign for the Oval Office. No one with national credentials wants to be associated with DeSantis!

    Eventually DeSantis will learn what Republicans in every State have discovered! IT’S THE CANDIDATE AND THE CANDIDATE’S HATEFUL ANTI-FREEDOM POLICES THAT WILL FOREVER MAKE A WHITE HOUSE RUN IMPOSSIBLE. Good riddance!

  • Dont Say FLA

    August 8, 2023 at 3:02 pm

    This appointment, while wildly inappropriate and unethical if not entirely illegal under Florida’s Resign to Run law, is just Ron DeSantis insulating his buddy from the good ole days, Generra Peck, from taking the blame for the failure of the Ron DeSantis 2024 campaign.

    Forced to choose between blaming himself or Ms Peck for his inept campaign’s failure, Ron chose James Uthmeier.

    Too bad for Ron, we know all too well that Ron DeSantis is the problem. It’s him. He’s the problem. It’s him.

    • eva

      August 8, 2023 at 3:34 pm

      My initial check is for $27,000. This is the first time I’ve actually earned something, and I’m very happy about it. I’m going to work even harder from now on and I can’t wait for my ne-52 paycheck the following week. For further information, click the home tab.
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      • Dont Say FLA

        August 9, 2023 at 11:53 am

        Eva, Ron DeSantis will be looking work pretty soon. And his little BBQ buddy Gaycakes James, too! Oh and Generra Peck is already looking for work. Ron set her free so she wouldn’t be the captain when the ship is finally declared to have sunk.

        Now that you mention it, I do wonder why Ron likes Generra Peck well enough to have set her free and insulated her from the big L. Yes, yes, I do wonder why he would do that.

        Does Ron have a secret family in Virginia? Does Jill know? It could be a secret from the public, not from Jill. As if Ron does anything unless Jill tells him too.

  • Joe

    August 8, 2023 at 3:03 pm

    Tiny Gov is derelict of duty in Florida these days.

  • My Take

    August 8, 2023 at 5:42 pm

    Is the DeSSlantus campaign uncontrollably adrift . . . or hard on the rocks?

    • Gaycakes James

      August 9, 2023 at 11:57 am

      Hard on. The Rock. And Tom Cruise, too.

Comments are closed.


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