2024 Republican presidential race: Iowa State Fair is a perfect spot for presidential runners Trump and DeSantis

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At the Iowa State Fairgrounds on Saturday, the 2024 presidential Republican election will be closely watched as former President Donald Trump and his top polling competitor, Florida Governor Ron DeSantis, join the crowd of thousands of prospective caucus attendees.

2024 Republican presidential race: Iowa State Fair is a perfect spot for Presidential runners Trump and DeSantis

Since the Democratic Party moved the state to the top spot in its nominating calendar in 1972 and the Republicans made the same adjustment four years later, the Iowa State Fair in Des Moines has become a staple destination on the presidential campaign road.

Making their speeches to crowds gathering around The Des Moines Register’s Political Soapbox is a state fair mainstay that both Trump and DeSantis are bypassing. DeSantis is taking part in a one-on-one “fair-side chat” with Republican Gov. Kim Reynolds, like the majority of other GOP candidates.

Trump would not speak with Reynolds because he has constantly questioned her impartiality in the contest and claimed that the well-liked governor was cozying up to DeSantis.

Meanwhile, the former president is visiting the Iowa state fair with a team that is mostly there to smear DeSantis. Representatives Gus Bilirakis, Byron Donalds, Matt Gaetz, Carlos Gimenez, Brian Mast, Cory Mills, Anna Paulina Luna, Greg Steube, and Mike Waltz are among those who have endorsed Trump over their state’s governor.

It is unclear if the two will run into each other at the Iowa state fairgrounds. Trump is expected to arrive at 1 p.m., while DeSantis will start his visit that morning. Eastern time.

Even still, with less than two weeks until the GOP’s first presidential debate—which Trump has not yet confirmed he will attend—it will be the closest thing in the Iowa state fairgrounds the two 2024 candidates have gotten to a frontal encounter.

Before the announcement of Trump’s third indictment, a recent New York Times/Siena College poll of probable Republican caucus-goers at the Iowa state fair had the former president at 44% and DeSantis at 20%, with South Carolina Sen. Tim Scott in third place at 9% and no other contender at 5%.

Even though the former president has a sizable lead, it is less than what national surveys of likely Republican voters have found. This indicates that more than half of the Iowa GOP electorate prefers someone else, highlighting the significance of the Hawkeye State’s caucuses on January 15 for those seeking to become the party’s top challenger to Trump.

DeSantis also wants to fix the problems with his own campaign. This week, he made more adjustments as part of a month-long reorganization in response to complaints from supporters and funders over his campaign’s messaging and high spending rate since he entered the race in May.

Other 2024 Republican candidates have also been to the Iowa State Fair, luring visitors at one of the most watched political events prior to the caucuses in January.

The former governor of South Carolina and current ambassador to the UN, Nikki Haley, will also make a Saturday appearance at the Iowa State Fair. Next week, Scott will be there as he competes with DeSantis for the title of top Trump alternative in Iowa.

Gov. Doug Burgum of North Dakota, who has earned a spot in the first GOP debate, told reporters on Thursday at the Iowa state fair that since he is “the least known of any of eight people on the debate stage, we just have to be ourselves and, America, get them a chance to get to know us.”

So interacting with actual voters and real individuals to understand their problems is part of the debate preparation right there at the Iowa State Fair, he explained.

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