DeSantis Super PAC Begins Layoffs as He Shifts Focus to South Carolina


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The super PAC supporting Gov. Ron DeSantis of Florida in the presidential race began carrying out layoffs on Wednesday, even as the campaign insisted he had a path forward and essentially chose to bypass next week’s New Hampshire primary in favor of competing in South Carolina.

It was unclear how many people the super PAC, Never Back Down, was letting go. Those who were laid off immediately had their email accounts suspended. The group had spent heavily on a vast field operation in Iowa, taking over many of the responsibilities of a traditional campaign, but Mr. DeSantis lost the state’s caucuses to former President Donald J. Trump on Monday by 30 percentage points.

The cuts appeared to trim the super PAC’s operations beyond New Hampshire and South Carolina, with officials in Nevada, the third nominating state, let go in addition to those working in states that will vote in March.

A majority of Mr. DeSantis’s campaign staff is moving to South Carolina, and he will leave New Hampshire after his events today, according to a senior campaign official, who insisted on anonymity. Mr. DeSantis will return to Florida and then campaign in South Carolina over the weekend, though it was unclear whether he would squeeze in a last-minute New Hampshire stop early next week before the primary election on Tuesday.

The move is a sign that he has given up on competing in a moderate-leaning state where his poll numbers are abysmal. Recent surveys have found his support to be in the single digits, far behind Mr. Trump and Nikki Haley. He will instead make a stand in the Palmetto State, whose conservative voters might be more closely aligned with Mr. DeSantis’s message.

The South Carolina primary is not until Feb. 24. CBS News earlier reported that Mr. DeSantis would largely skip New Hampshire in favor of South Carolina.

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DeSantis Super PAC Begins Layoffs as He Shifts Focus to South Carolina

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