DeSantis allies dish on why his campaign spiraled: 'Ron is the smartest guy in the room. Everyone else is an idiot.'

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  • Former aides and consultants are dishing on what went wrong for Ron DeSantis.

  • The Florida governor has a difficult path forward after a distance second-place finish in Iowa.

  • "The DeSantis campaign was too much of a DeSantis fan club," a former consultant told The Messenger.

Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis' former aides and allies are already writing his presidential campaign's obituary.

Anonymous aides and former consultants dished to The Messenger on how DeSantis went from former President Donald Trump's best-positioned primary foe to limping out of Iowa following the state's first-in-the-nation caucuses. DeSantis claimed on Monday night that he got his "ticket punched" but in actuality, he barely held off former UN Ambassador Nikki Haley for second place. Neither candidate came anywhere near Trump.

A pair of consultants who once worked for DeSantis told The Messenger that one overarching problem with his campaign is that he surrounded himself with allies who rarely questioned his decisions.

"The DeSantis campaign was too much of a DeSantis fan club," one consultant said. A different consultant added, "Ron is the smartest guy in the room. Everyone else is an idiot. No one tells him he's wrong. So it didn't happen that often."

In his first comments since the Iowa caucuses, DeSantis appeared confident that his campaign has the momentum it needs to sustain itself. Despite his enthusiasm, the race has shifted to the New Hampshire primary, a state where Haley polls far better than DeSantis.

"What we did in Iowa, we did make an impression. ... I had people come up to me saying, 'I love you, man. I'm gonna do Trump this time and do you next time,'" DeSantis told NBC News' Dasha Burns. "That's not what I wanted to hear. But, being there, we did make an impression."

DeSantis started the 2024 cycle in a prime position. He was coming off the heels of his record-setting reelection win in 2022 on a night when many national Republicans were disappointed. But even before that victory, Trump trained his fire on DeSantis.

Meanwhile, DeSantis further harmed his position with a series of missteps from a glitchy campaign rollout to fringe right-wing videos that made his campaign appear too online. The Florida governor's main allied super PAC also descended into infighting during critical times in the race.

A representative for DeSantis' campaign did not immediately respond to Business Insider's request for comment.

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