Presidential Election

DeSantis courts voters in Iowa as Trump cancels rally due to weather

Gov. Ron DeSantis in Iowa took several not-at-all-subtle swings at former President Donald Trump.

DeSantis courts voters in Iowa as Trump cancels rally due to weather
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Something was cooking Saturday, and it wasn’t on the grill but on the minds of almost everyone at the Sioux Center, Iowa, event: Will Gov. Ron DeSantis announce a White House run?

No, no announcement, but Iowans did get almost everything else you’d expect from a presidential candidate, from the meet and greet to the stump speech, which included support for a border wall, scaling down federal bureaucracy, fighting "woke-ism," and several not-at-all-subtle swings at former President Donald Trump.

"After watching all the good stuff you’ve done in Iowa, it may be that Florida is the Iowa of the Southeast," said DeSantis to the crowd. "Governing is not about entertaining. Governing is not about building a brand, or talking on social media, and virtue signaling; it’s ultimately about winning and producing results. That’s what you’ve done in Iowa and what we’ve done in Florida."

DeSantis is having a good couple of days in Iowa.

Besides packing rooms, he snagged at least 37 presidential endorsements from Iowa state lawmakers, including heavy hitters like the Iowa House Majority Leader.

"We need a leader that is actually focused on the future. Yes — he has not announced yet, but I am trying to work with him, encourage him and his team to say yes to this opportunity to get out there and fight the fight that I know he’s got in him," said Rep. Matt Windschitl, (R) Harrison County.

Trump ups competition with DeSantis in planning trip to Iowa
Trump ups competition with DeSantis in planning trip to Iowa

Trump ups competition with DeSantis in planning trip to Iowa

The Donald Trump and Ron DeSantis competition is intensifying. Trump and DeSantis will have scheduled Iowa trips at the same time.

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DeSantis Super PAC Never Back Down said to expect more of the same as Iowans start to see Ron as Donald — without the baggage.

"The more they know about the man, the more they like him. When you couple that with unapologetic leadership and legislative success, as they’ve seen in Florida, people get really excited about that," said Erin Perrine, communications director of Never Back Down.

One of those people is already very excited.

"We are waiting for Gov. DeSantis to announce we’re ready," said Kay Quirk.

Quirk, who’s started her own grassroots effort to get Iowans to back a DeSantis ticket. 

"I don’t like drama. I like the fact that Gov. DeSantis just gets it done," Quirk said.

But other people Scripps News spoke to said they were on the fence.

"I don’t know him well enough to know yet," said one person, and another said, "I don’t know. I’m going to have to wait and see. There’s a whole year and a half yet."

Trump had his fans as well, some hoping for a compromise.

"Probably the Republican dream ticket would be Trump-DeSantis. DeSantis as vice president," said a Trump fan.

However, that might be a tall order for Trump, who keeps taking swipes at the governor online and in person.

But not Saturday, as severe weather in central Iowa drove Trump to cancel his rally in Des Moines. 

Desantis made a surprise stop near the venue, pnly further raising suspicion that a big announcement is imminent. 

Trump fired off a press release showing support of more than 150 Iowa elected and grassroots leaders Saturday night. Then, Sunday, took to Truth Social to tout his lead in early polling. He dubbed Governor DeSantis 'Rob' and questioned if he's "just young, inexperienced and naive or, more troubling, is he a fool who has no idea what he's doing?"

That jab aside, Exactly what Desantis is doing sure looks like running for president, and making a bid for Iowa ahead of the vital caucuses.