Ron DeSantis is privately telling people he will run for president in 2024 as he makes his maiden trip to the important early campaign state of Iowa on Friday.
Iowa would be a crucial test for Florida’s governor. The state will hold its first Republican nominating contest early next year, and if DeSantis could beat Donald Trump in his primary, it would show his strength and viability as a candidate.
DeSantis has not made a formal announcement about his plans for 2024, but he has privately stated that he intends to run for president, two people familiar with his remarks said. The Washington Post.
He has long been seen as a Republican presidential candidate. His trip to Iowa comes three days before Trump visits the state to campaign there on his first visit since announcing his 2024 bid. Nikki Haley, who has also announced a presidential campaign, is in the middle of a three-day campaign in Iowa.
Florida Governor Ron DeSantis will be in Iowa on Friday, a key early election state in the Republican presidential primaries
Trump has deep ties to the state – thanks to his previous two presidential campaigns – and is popular there.
But a new one Des Moines Register/Mediacom Iowa Poll out Friday shows his support is beginning to crumble: The percentage of Iowa Republicans who say they would “definitely” vote for him if he were the 2024 nominee has plummeted more than 20 points since June 2021.
The poll also showed that Trump and DeSantis are aligned when it comes to approval in the state, with 44% of voters approving Trump and 42% approving DeSantis. Both are about 20 points ahead of Haley.
DeSantis will appear on Friday at events in Des Moines and Davenport that will be moderated by Iowa Governor Kim Reynolds, who has said she will remain neutral in the GOP presidential primaries.
Then on Saturday, Florida’s governor heads to Nevada – another key early voting state in the Republican presidential primary.
The trips — which included a visit to Ronald Reagan’s Presidential Library in Simi Valley, Calif. last week — are part of DeSantis’ efforts to build his national profile, introduce himself to voters and engage with donors ahead of time. to an anticipated presidential announcement.
DeSantis allies do not expect him to announce a presidential bid until after the end of the Florida state legislature in May.
But a super-PAC has already been formed that could boost his presidential campaign. Never Back Down is led by Ken Cuccinelli, who served as acting director of U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services during the Trump administration, and Chris Jankowski, a veteran GOP operative.
All of DeSantis’ recent moves point to his presidential aspirations, and those close to him told the Post that the governor is talking about an unqualified campaign that would suggest he’s still deciding.
Former President Donald Trump will visit Iowa on Monday — his first visit to the state since announcing he will rejoin in 2024
Nikki Haley is on a three-day tour of Iowa – above, she’s campaigning in Nevada, Iowa
Late last month, DeSantis held a private three-day retreat in Palm Beach — where Trump lives in Florida — with several prominent Republicans, many of whom supported the former president.
The event, billed as a celebration of his policies for the state he refers to as the “blueprint of Florida,” also served as a way to connect him with donors and party powerholders.
He also recently published a book: The courage to be free: Florida‘s blueprint for America’s revival. He presents his Florida policy as a “blueprint” for the nation.
His events in Iowa and Nevada are tied to that book tour, which many see as a precursor to a presidential campaign.
Iowa, famous for its retail politics, will also be a test of DeSantis’ campaigning abilities.
The governor has confronted chatter, he’s not a natural on the campaign trail, that he lacks charm and that he seems unwilling to put in the hours of merry intercourse and chatter necessary to campaign.
In Iowa, face time counts. Presidential candidates are expected to make multiple trips, visit nearly every county in the state, and run extensive retail campaigns.
That strategy gave early impetus to other Republicans in past presidential primaries: Mike Huckabee in 2008, Rick Santorum in 2012, and Ted Cruz in 2016.
From left: Madison DeSantis, 6; first lady Casey DeSantis; Mason DeSantis, 4; and Governor Ron DeSantis hold their hands on their hearts as they recite the Pledge of Allegiance at the Ronald Reagan Library in Simi Valley, California on Sunday, March 5, 2023
Trump lashed out at DeSantis for the trip, accusing him of “killing ethanol” — a major problem for Iowa farmers.
“Why on earth would the great people of the GREAT state of Iowa vote for Ron DeSanctimonious when he voted and fought to KILL Ethanol (and he certainly will if given the chance),” Trump wrote on his Truth Social website Thursday night.
“He’ll be in Iowa on Friday begging for mercy. I supported Ethanol, FIRED NAFTA, and made USMCA & China Trade Deals!’
While in Congress in 2017, DeSantis co-sponsored legislation that would have immediately ended the Renewable Fuel Standard, a mandate requiring renewable fuel to be blended into the nation’s fuel supply.
One of those requirements is met by cornstarch ethanol. Iowa produces more corn than any other state.
Trump will be in Davenport Monday to outline his education plan and answer voter questions. It is his first visit to the state since he announced that he is running for president again.
He clearly sees DeSantis as a threat – giving him the derogatory nickname Ron DeSanctimonious and accusing him of trying to cut Medicare and Social Security benefits.
DeSantis will visit the Rhythm City Casino Resort in Davenport and then head to the Iowa State Fairgrounds, a traditional destination for presidential candidates.
In between his public events, he will also stop in Des Moines to meet with a small group of Republican lawmakers.
In Las Vegas, DeSantis will visit Stoney’s Rockin’ Country nightclub on Saturday with Adam Laxalt, an old friend who was last year’s GOP nominee for the Nevada Senate.