Before a single Republican vote has been cast at the Jan. 15 Iowa caucuses, media outlets are writing campaign obituaries for Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis in his attempt to win the Republican presidential nomination.
A gloom-infested summary of the DeSantis campaign from The New York Times drew a picture of a chaotic campaign in a tailspin.
The report quoted Ryan Tyson, a DeSantis pollster and adviser as saying privately the campaign was in the “make the patient comfortable” stage, a reference to hospice care for the terminally ill.
Andrew Romeo, the communication director, for the campaign, issued a statement from Tyson denying he made the comment.
“Different day, same media hit job based on unnamed sources with agendas,” Romeo said.
“While the media tried to proclaim this campaign dead back in August, Ron DeSantis fought back and enters the home stretch in Iowa as the hardest-working candidate with the most robust ground game. DeSantis has been underestimated in every race he’s ever run and always proved the doubters wrong — we are confident he will defy the odds once again on Jan. 15,” Romeo added.
But the Times, which claimed it spoke with more than a dozen sources, said the campaign had withered “after a slow-motion implosion of the relationship between the campaign and an allied super PAC left even his most ardent supporters drained and demoralized.”
“Those advisers paint a portrait of a disillusioned presidential candidacy, marked by finger-pointing, fatalism and grand plans designed in a Tallahassee hotel in early spring gone awry by winter,” the Times wrote.
The Times report equated the recent firing of three top officials at the pro-DeSantis Super PAC Never Back Down, after two top officials had already quit, with a campaign in crisis. It also reported that by Jan. 15, the campaign will have spent more money on private jets than TV ads.
“You’re running against a former president — you’re going to have to be perfect and to get lucky. We’ve been unlucky and been far from perfect,” the Times quoted a DeSantis staffer it did not name as saying.
The Miami Herald also got into the act of, writing, “Barring a seismic polling error, the result could also essentially end Ron DeSantis’ White House run before it can gain steam.”
“If DeSantis is in third his candidacy is over,” former House Speaker Newt Gingrich said. “He has to come in ahead of Haley. The media is working to make her the real alternative to Trump.”
Others also delivered pre-caucus doom.
“If he is completely crushed in Iowa, from his longevity and legacy standpoint it would make sense to reassess moving forward,” Alice Stewart, a staffer who worked in the presidential campaigns of former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee, said.
Ed Brookover, who worked for Ben Carson and Trump, said Iowa is not the whole story.
“There is no clear path for Gov. DeSantis to win the nomination. Even if he surprises in Iowa, he is not positioned to defeat President Trump,” he said.
Fox News contributor Charles Hurt has said he thinks DeSantis is toast.
“It’s truly amazing, especially when you look at the record he’s established in Florida, but he has run a terrible campaign,” Hurt said, according to Mediaite.
“The more you look under the hood and you look at the mechanics of the way they have spent money, the way they raised money, the way they’ve operated. It is the most disappointing campaign, mechanics-wise, that I have ever seen,” he said.
Republican Oklahoma Gov. Kevin Stitt is not part of the doom-sayers.
“I think DeSantis is going to shock the world here and it’s going to be exciting to see,” Stitt said. “I wouldn’t worry about polls. It’s all about what’s going to happen on Jan. 15 in Iowa.”
The governor also said all the “turmoil and lawsuits” surrounding Trump would completely overshadow a second term for him in the White House and that the country needs a “fresh slate.”
“We’d be there for eight years,” Stitt said. “It’d be amazing … You get all the conservative policies without any of the baggage really and so for me, that’s the biggest thing, somebody who can be there for eight years and somebody that will not back down.”
This article appeared originally on The Western Journal.