Florida Governor Ron DeSantis and former President Donald Trump are both scheduled to travel to Iowa in the coming weeks. This will be their first trip of the year to the state that is expected to be the first to vote Republican in the year 2024.
On March 10, DeSantis is expected to hold events in Davenport and Des Moines in Iowa to promote his new book, “The Courage to be Free.” A pair of Republican aides who spoke anonymously on Thursday confirmed DeSantis’ plans since they were not authorized to preempt his announcement.
It was announced Thursday by Trump’s campaign that he will speak on education policy in Davenport on March 13, his first Iowa appearance since launching his campaign in November.
“It’s going from ground zero to the moon,” said Gloria Mazza, Polk County’s Republican party chair. “We are very excited about it.”
Even though DeSantis has not yet become a candidate, his trip represents a significant step for the governor, who has positioned himself as a potential presidential contender.
During the current legislative session, he has focused on expanding his rightward agenda in the Florida statehouse, where he is largely content to lead conservative cultural fights on cable television and from the statehouse.
Those two Republicans would be closer to direct competition if their Iowa visits were closely timed. As Trump views DeSantis as a major threat, he has increasingly derided him on social media and drawn insulting nicknames for him. As for DeSantis, he said last month that he didn’t spend his time smearing other Republicans after one such Trump jab.
Earlier this month, Donald Trump visited the early-voting states New Hampshire and South Carolina, and Iowa will be his first official visit as a candidate for 2024.
Following his second-place finish in the 2016 Republican caucuses en route to the nomination and healthy margins in the 2016 and 2020 general elections, he will face pressure to do well in Iowa next year.
Many Republican presidential candidates have visited Iowa in recent weeks after a quiet start to the year.
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In late February, Haley visited Iowa, where she announced her candidacy. Next week, she will hold two town halls and attend a foreign policy event in Des Moines with Republican Sen. Joni Ernst.
The former vice president was in the state last month rallying conservative parents against a gender-affirming policy in an eastern Iowa school district at issue in a federal lawsuit. Pence will return to Iowa on March 18.
One of the likely candidates for the GOP presidential nomination in 2024, Sen. Tim Scott of South Carolina, gave a speech at Drake University last week as well as headlined a Polk County Republican Party fundraiser.