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DeSantis hires back members of his campaign staff as he reassembles Florida government team

Christina Pushaw, a spokesperson for Gov. Ron DeSantis, attends his inauguration ceremony on Tuesday, Jan. 3, 2023, in Tallahassee, Florida. (Matias J. Ocner/Miami Herald/TNS)
February 21, 2024

A month after Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis suspended his campaign for president, some of the most prominent members of his political team are returning to his administration with taxpayer-funded jobs.

Christina Pushaw, who became well-known for her extremely online persona as the DeSantis campaign’s rapid response director, will be serving as a senior analyst for the governor. While the office has yet to comment on what her job duties are, records show she will be earning an annual salary of $155,000.

Bryan Griffin, who served as the presidential campaign’s press secretary, is back serving as the governor’s communications director. He is earning $160,000, records show.

And last month, James Uthmeier, who worked as the campaign manager for DeSantis’ failed bid for president, returned to his role of chief of staff. His annual salary is roughly $196,000.

“We’re getting the band back together,” Griffin posted on X, formerly known as Twitter, on Tuesday.

The re-hires show how DeSantis is regrouping with nearly three years left in his second term in office and how he is surrounding himself with individuals who have a history of focusing on many of the governor’s political priorities.

Since suspending his presidential campaign, DeSantis has renewed his focus on the pandemicschool book challenges and immigration — policy issues that have been key parts of his political platform. And on Tuesday, DeSantis is holding an official event in South Carolina — days before the state’s GOP presidential primary.

Pushaw, for example, rose to prominence in national GOP circles after she was hired as DeSantis’ press secretary in 2022. It was her first job in American government, according to her resume. And within months, she reinvented the position — which at the time paid her $120,000 — by aggressively going after Democrats, the governor’s critics and reporters.

The governor’s office did not comment on Pushaw’s hire. But Pushaw said it would involve working on “communications and digital projects.”


© 2024 Miami Herald

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