Florida’s DeSantis picks finance director for prospective presidential campaign

Florida’s DeSantis picks finance director for prospective presidential campaign

April 7 (Reuters) – Florida Governor Ron DeSantis has chosen a finance director for his prospective presidential campaign, two sources close to DeSantis said on Thursday.

The selection and other recent hires by DeSantis and Never Back Down PAC, the main outside spending group supporting his likely run, show the governor is moving full steam ahead although he has yet to formally launch his bid.

Lauren Lofstrom, who served as finance director for Texas Senator Ted Cruz during his 2016 presidential campaign, is joining DeSantis’ political operation and has begun meeting with the governor’s allies to discuss fundraising strategies, said the sources who spoke on condition of anonymity.

Lofstrom did not immediately respond to a request for comment. A spokesperson for DeSantis also did not respond to a request for comment.

The hire comes as DeSantis’ main rival, former President Donald Trump, enjoys a bump in the polls.

Some 58% of Republican primary voters support Trump, according to a Reuters/Ipsos poll released on Thursday, after he was charged with 34 felony counts of falsifying business records by prosecutors in New York City. That is up from 48% from the Reuters/Ipsos poll released on Monday, prior to his arraignment.

DeSantis’ support stood at 21% in the Thursday poll.

Others who have joined DeSantis’ political operation include Jason Johnson, who served as Cruz’s chief strategist in 2016, the sources said.

Several high-profile operatives supporting DeSantis are Cruz alums. While the Texas senator ultimately lost to Trump, Cruz won the pivotal state of Iowa and finished second in a crowded field to the former president.

A third source said Roy Bailey, described in news reports as Trump’s former national finance committee co-chairman, was also under consideration for a role. Bailey did not respond to a request for comment.

Reporting by Gram Slattery and Alexandra Ulmer; editing by Andy Sullivan and Edwina Gibbs

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