Presidential Election

Floridians brave the Iowa cold to give DeSantis a boost

Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis' presidential bid might hinge on his performance in Iowa on Monday.

Floridians brave the Iowa cold to give DeSantis a boost
Charlie Neibergall / AP
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The calendar inside Ron DeSantis' Iowa HQ says it all. Caucus day is here, and so is the governor's secret weapon: Floridians.

Nearly 75 lawmakers, cabinet members, state secretaries, and others from Florida are visiting Iowa to help with the final push on Monday.

Many are giving speeches at precincts Monday night to encourage a DeSantis vote.

DeSantis was one of the few candidates to keep in-person events in the face of blizzard conditions over the weekend in Iowa.

"Not a lot of Floridians come up north in January, certainly not in the tail end of a blizzard. But we are going to be out all the way through the end of the caucus tonight," DeSantis himself said at a campaign event in Cedar Rapids, Iowa, on Monday afternoon.

"For those of you who are going to caucus for us, thank you for doing that," DeSantis said. "For those of you who haven't made a decision, we're asking for your vote."

DeSantis headquarters in Iowa were quiet early on Monday evening while personnel fanned out across the state, seeking to connect DeSantis' achievements in Florida to voters in Iowa.

DeSantis traveled to all 99 counties to reach voters, and went to two caucus sites on Monday night.

DeSantis' communications director told Scripps News Monday they were leaning into his underdog status, when compared to Nikki Haley, who is polling in second place in Iowa, and to former President Donald Trump, who maintains a commanding lead.

Scripps News and Decision Desk HQ projected Monday evening that Trump will win the Iowa caucuses on Monday.

Where Ron DeSantis stands ahead of the Iowa caucuses
Where Ron DeSantis stands ahead of the Iowa caucuses

Where Ron DeSantis stands ahead of the Iowa caucuses

Iowa will prove critical in whether the Florida governor can cement himself as a viable Republican candidate for the presidency.

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DeSantis campaign officials think the life-threatening temps, mixed with a strong ground operation, will actually break in their favor, freezing front-runner Donald Trump's turnout.

And DeSantis may need the help.

The last Iowa Poll had him in a disappointing third place behind Nikki Haley and Trump.

Jonathan Morales, who drove up from Tampa to volunteer in Iowa, is trying not to think about it.

"It's in the back of my mind but it doesn't feel like that on the ground," Morales said. "I've been knocking on doors. I've been calling. The reception is a lot better than I expected when you consider the polls."

Momentum is at stake in the cold on Monday night.

Iowa's total delegates aren't as big of a deal as the amount of energy and fundraising you can gather from a strong finish in Iowa.

DeSantis may need both to stay in this year's race.