Former President Donald Trump’s campaign is looking to deliver what has been described as a final “knock-out punch” to Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis’s campaign, as it moves to increase efforts in Iowa — one of the three states the DeSantis campaign has primarily focused on.
Throughout the GOP primary race, many viewed DeSantis as the only viable challenger to the former president, but as months have gone by, he has failed to put a dent in Trump’s dominant lead. Rather, DeSantis has lost support, falling to third and fourth place in several polls over the past few months.
A leaked memo in July revealed the DeSantis campaign’s strategy of putting Super Tuesday states aside and instead focusing on Iowa, South Carolina, and New Hampshire. That same month, his campaign restructured, laying off dozens of staffers and replacing his campaign manager as his steep decline in the polls accelerated.
Despite the popularity of his governance in the Sunshine State — his handling of the coronavirus had been extremely popular among residents and became a point of envy for others stuck in more restrictive states throughout the pandemic — Republican voters nationwide continue to show that they instead prefer another round of Trump before another Republican takes the mantle.
This sentiment was clearly displayed at the Iowa State Fair in August, as crowds turned away from DeSantis’s event to watch Trump fly overhead. DeSantis also found himself walking through a crowd of individuals shouting, “We want Trump!”
Trump already overshadowing DeSantis at the Iowa state fair, as the crowd turns away from DeSantis event to watch Trump’s plane encircle overhead pic.twitter.com/nsMo3WpKZO
— Joyce Koh (@JoyceKohTV) August 12, 2023
Gov. Ron DeSantis walks through a crowd chanting “We love Trump” and “We want Trump” pic.twitter.com/IBjOWcEH1i
— Lalee Ibssa (@LaleeIbssa) August 12, 2023
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Jack Knudsen / Breitbart News
The Trump campaign is keenly aware of the DeSantis campaign’s struggles, as he even failed to see a boost in the polls after the first GOP debate. With that, the Trump campaign is seeking to usher in the end of DeSantis’s campaign by “beefing up their efforts in Iowa, hoping to deliver the type of knock-out punch that would effectively end the Florida governor’s bid and send a message to the other campaigns to get out of the way,” Politico reported.
According to reports, Trump has visited the Hawkeye State seven times this year and is, according to Politico, “embarking on a ‘Team Trump Caucus Commitment’ organizing event in Iowa with campaign volunteers at the Jackson County Fairgrounds in Maquoketa,” and delivering a speech at the Grand River Conference Center in Dubuque this week. The Iowa blitz will not end there either, as Trump is expected to visit the state at least three more times in the first half of October, with possibly more stops following that.
“The Trump campaign is also bringing on Alex Meyer, who was recently part of the RNC’s political data team, as a senior adviser to focus on both Iowa and Missouri,” the outlet reported:
Trump’s Iowa team is focused on educating and training Trump supporters on the caucus process, and the Trump campaign has boasted of 27,500 signed caucus pledge cards and 1,500 local volunteers in the state.
Coinciding with that is the pro-Trump Super PAC MAGA Inc. spending hundreds of thousands of dollars on advertising in the Hawkeye State this week alone.
DeSantis, meanwhile, has failed to make significant strides in the state, despite his campaign’s greatest efforts.
Internal Iowa polling conducted for DeSantis’s Super PAC Never Back Down showed bad news for DeSantis, who is underperforming in the state, trailing Trump by 21 points.
As Breitbart News reported in mid-August:
DeSantis, his own Super PAC admits, currently trails former President Donald Trump by 21 percent in Iowa. The survey documents, published online as part of a broader trove of information that the political consulting firm Axiom Strategies has online, show Trump at 40 percent in Iowa. DeSantis, meanwhile, lingers down at 19 percent — 21 points lower than Trump — and Sen. Tim Scott (R-SC) is rising right behind DeSantis now at 12 percent in Iowa, per DeSantis’s own team.
A full 20 percent in the survey back other candidates, and 9 percent are undecided. The document is dated August 2023 — meaning it is currently the view of the DeSantis operation that Trump leads DeSantis with more than double DeSantis’s level of support in Iowa.
Monday’s RealClearPolitics (RCP) poll spells even worse trouble for DeSantis, showing Trump leading the GOP pack by an average of 30.2 percent in the Iowa Republican caucus — 46 percent to DeSantis’s 15.8 percent.
DeSantis, however, is not showing any signs of wavering publicly, recently telling Fox News Channel’s America Reports that his campaign is built for the “long haul” and adding that no one is “entitled to be nominated.”
“But a lot of voters haven’t made a firm decision,” DeSantis contended. “They may be leaning one way or another. So, I think this is very fluid, and I think someone’s got to go out there and grab it, and that’s what I’m going to do. Nobody is entitled to be nominated. You got to show up in these early states, and you’ve got to earn it, and that’s what I’m going to do.”