Leaked ‘Confidential’ Memo Reveals Ron DeSantis Strategy to Reassure Donors

Rebecca S. Gratz for The Washington Post via Getty Images

Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis (R) is looking to reassure donors who have a growing concern about his campaign’s underwhelming performance, according to a leaked “confidential” memo obtained by NBC News.

In recent weeks, there has been growing concern among donors and other pro-DeSantis surrogates and entities about the campaign’s standstill in the polls several weeks into the race.

A Harvard poll taken last month found that former President Donald Trump led DeSantis by a margin of 67 to 33 percent, a slight decrease for DeSantis from Harvard’s May poll taken before DeSantis entered the race.

President Donald Trump listens to Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis during a tour of the Edgar Hoover Dike on Lake Okeechobee in Florida, on March 29, 2019. (NICHOLAS KAMM/AFP via Getty Images)

This week, it was reported that media tycoon Rupert Murdoch is losing confidence in DeSantis’s ability to defeat Trump in the Republican primary.

“One Fox News insider told Rolling Stone that Rupert and his son Lachlan Murdoch ‘are transactional and can smell a loser a mile away,’” Breitbart News detailed. “A senior Fox source told the outlet Murdoch’s ‘understandable worry is that we may end up being stuck with Trump anyway.’”

Republican megadonor Ken Griffin is also reconsidering his support for DeSantis after previously claiming, “our country would be well-served by him as president,” months before DeSantis launched his campaign.

Griffin is one of several donors who supported DeSantis’s gubernatorial campaigns but are shying away from contributing to his presidential campaign. Former Marvel chairman Ike Perlmutter — who donated, with his wife, over $2 million to DeSantis’s gubernatorial reelection campaign — is planning to support Trump’s third White House bid with a “meaningful” contribution, CNBC reported.

Billionaire Ronald Lauder, who donated more than $200,000 to DeSantis’s gubernatorial campaigns, is now considering throwing his financial support to Sen. Tim Scott (R-SC), Politico reported.

However, in a leaked memo labeled as a “confidential friends and family update,” DeSantis’s campaign outlined its plan to cut into Trump’s lead over the next several months.

DeSantis’s campaign plans to focus its effort on early primary states like Iowa, South Carolina, and New Hampshire rather than dedicating resources to Super Tuesday primary states.

Republican presidential candidate and Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis and his wife Casey, walk in the July 4th parade, Tuesday, July 4, 2023, in Merrimack, NH. (AP Photo/Reba Saldanha)

The memo stated:

Ron DeSantis is running a campaign to win everywhere. It would be a mistake to take a paid media and field program off the table in service of other states, we will not cede New Hampshire. From what we can tell, pro-DeSantis efforts are currently and will continue to run a robust effort in Iowa, South Carolina, and New Hampshire, that includes paid media and field.

While Super Tuesday is critically important, we will not dedicate resources to Super Tuesday that slow our momentum in New Hampshire. We expect to revisit this investment in the Fall.

The memo also revealed the governor plans to feature “cookout styled, backyard activities” targeting Iowa and New Hampshire Republicans.

DeSantis’s increased focus comes as Trump maintains double-digit leads over him in IowaSouth Carolina, and New Hampshire.

“From my understanding, if we don’t see a bump in the polls, we are basically going to shut down the idea of a national operation,” a DeSantis-aligned operative told NBC News.

The memo, labeled “not for distribution,” also recognized Scott has “earned a serious look at this stage,” but claimed Scott will receive “appropriate scrutiny in the weeks ahead.”

DeSantis’s campaign has dismissed the competition from North Dakota Gov. Doug Burgum (R), former U.N. Ambassador Nikki Haley, and businessman Vivek Ramaswamy, saying they have found “low to no interest” among voters in those campaigns.

On the messaging portion of the memo, it reiterates that “Governor DeSantis is THE leader of the culture fight in America.”

Interestingly, DeSantis’s increased focus on cultural issues is one of the reasons why Murdoch is souring on him, as two sources told Rolling Stone, “Murdoch has privately winced at DeSantis’ nonstop cultural-grievance strategy, arguing that it is being executed sloppily.”

DeSantis’s campaign spokespersons told NBC revelations from the confidential memo “should come as no surprise.”

“It should come as no surprise that our campaign will focus relentlessly on the early states while also building out an infrastructure to go the distance — and thanks to our generous supporters, we have the resources to do it all. We’re ready to win this marathon,” Andrew Romeo told the outlet.

Jordan Dixon-Hamilton is a reporter for Breitbart News. Write to him at jdixonhamilton@breitbart.com or follow him on Twitter.


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