DeSantis hires back Pushaw as he reassembles Florida government team

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A month after 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.

Griffin on Tuesday posted a meme from the 1980s “The Blues Brothers” movie with the words “We’re putting the band back together,” on X, formerly known as Twitter.

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 pandemic, school 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.”