In a risky move to close the gap between him and former President Donald Trump in the 2024 Republican primary, Gov. Ron DeSantis (R-FL) is making a bold bet on Iowa. DeSantis has asked a significant number of his aides in Tallahassee to move to Iowa several months before the caucuses. Critics are skeptical of DeSantis’s strategy, but some say it might be his only shot at gaining ground on the popular former president.
DeSantis’s national support in the Republican primary has declined from 31% in January to 12.5% this week. However, he currently holds second place in Iowa with 16% support, trailing behind Trump, who still maintains a commanding lead in the state with 49% support.
By focusing on Iowa, DeSantis is hoping to secure one of the “three tickets” out of the state, separating himself from the rest of the contenders. However, Trump’s formidable campaign and deep pockets pose a significant challenge for DeSantis. While the governor has raised $15 million and has $13.5 million cash on hand, Trump raised a staggering $45.5 million and has $37.5 million cash on hand.
Last stand? DeSantis bets big on Iowa to topple Trump
— Washington Examiner (@dcexaminer) October 9, 2023
Despite the financial disadvantage, DeSantis believes that Iowa’s unique caucus system allows him to compete without spending excessive amounts of money. He plans to continue his extensive travel across the state, having visited 74 out of Iowa’s 99 counties so far. Additionally, DeSantis has been increasingly critical of Trump, questioning his entitlement to the nomination and highlighting his absence from campaign events.
While DeSantis’s Iowa strategy is undoubtedly a risky move, some argue that unconventional tactics can yield unexpected results. Others, however, caution that such drastic measures often signal the end of a campaign rather than a new beginning. Only time will tell if DeSantis’s strategy pays off and if he can make a considerable dent in Trump’s strong Iowa support.