Ron DeSantis to Complete Tour of Iowa Counties as 2024 State Caucuses Loom – On Saturday, Ron DeSantis intends to fulfill his campaign commitment by visiting all 99 counties in Iowa, a traditional strategy for presidential hopefuls looking to connect with voters through months of engagements at diners, cookouts, and Pizza Ranches. However, the Florida governor’s endeavor is cast in the looming influence of former president Donald Trump, a recurring theme in his campaign.
As DeSantis prepares to speak in Newton, Iowa, on Saturday afternoon, Trump will simultaneously address enthusiastic supporters approximately 100 miles away in Cedar Rapids. With just six weeks remaining before the January 15 Iowa caucuses, DeSantis expresses strong confidence in winning, having strategically invested his campaign in the state and securing crucial endorsements from Governor Kim Reynolds and influential evangelical leader Bob Vander Plaats.
“He’s showing up,” Reynolds said in an interview. “He’s not just landing, doing an event and heading out. He has put the time into the state.” Trump commands a strong presence in both nationwide and early-state polls, orchestrating substantial rallies and organizing caucus goers throughout the fall. Meanwhile, DeSantis encounters internal challenges within his political operation, marked by the departure of two key officials from the major Super PAC supporting him.
Additionally, he faces a heightened competition from former United Nations ambassador Nikki Haley, who has gained momentum in early-state polls and garnered support from Americans for Prosperity, the political arm of the influential Koch network. On Saturday, Trump intends to address two gatherings, initially in the Des Moines region and later in the eastern part of the state in Cedar Rapids, aiming to rally supporters and secure commitments for their caucus participation.
Trump’s campaign stated that the scheduling of the Cedar Rapids event, coinciding with DeSantis’s 99th county celebration, was purely coincidental. The campaign has downplayed DeSantis’s effort, drawing comparisons to a lesser-known GOP presidential candidate, businessman and pastor Ryan Binkley, who claimed to have already visited all 99 counties. “If Ron DeSantis can’t even keep up with Ryan Binkley in Iowa, how can he expect to be competitive with Nikki ‘Birdbrain’ Haley for distant second place?” Trump’s campaign said in a statement earlier this week.
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Reynolds, who will join DeSantis in Jasper County on Saturday, hinted that there is still an opportunity for him to diminish Trump’s lead. “He’s a staunch conservative and brings that to the table without the drama,” she said. “Iowans tend to break late. We’re seeing it. I think he’s really starting to hit his stride.” DeSantis’ advisors contend that visiting every county in Iowa’s expansive landscape can garner crucial support from small rural areas and simultaneously showcase a dedication to engaging with all regions of the state.