The first GOP presidential contest is nearly a year away, but Iowa caucus season is officially underway, as presidential hopefuls and potential candidates travel to the Hawkeye State.
On Friday, Florida Governor Ron DeSantis made an appearance in the state, as part of his book tour. In several private conversations with donors and allies, DeSantis has indicated he is leaning toward running
This is according to two sources close to the governor, as reported by The Washington Post.
DeSantis’ private comments suggest that he is no longer in the deciding phase, and is likely to announce once Florida’s legislative session concludes in May, according to The Post.
The Thursday launch of Never Back Down, a political action committee designed to boost DeSantis as the GOP nominee, indicates a possible campaign, as it intends to “carry him to the White House.”
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Ken Cuccinelli, who served as the Acting Deputy Secretary of Homeland Security under the Trump administration, started the Never Back Down PAC to encourage DeSantis to run for the Republican nomination in 2024.
“Today I’m launching Never Back Down PAC @Nvrbackdown24 to encourage @GovRonDeSantis to run for President in 2024The energy is real. Grassroots conservatives see that Governor DeSantis is a proven leader who can win in 2024. #NeverBackDown,” tweeted Cuccinelli.
The PAC is expected to be an outside funding resource for a likely DeSantis campaign and serves as yet another indicator of the governor’s presidential aspirations,
The Post reported. The organization of the PAC currently details that any funds they raise can be transferred to DeSantis’ campaign when and if he runs.
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Since DeSantis ended up with over $70 million in funds after his reelection, his advisors are seeking ways to put it towards his expected presidential campaign, according to The Post.
The governor’s private comments combined with the launch of the PAC indicates the progress DeSantis’ team has made in forming a presidential campaign, despite the lack of an announcement, according to The Post.
In his first trip to Iowa, DeSantis argued Friday that the culture war agenda that brought him national attention isn’t just good policy; it can help Republicans win elections.
“It’s so great to be here with America’s governor, Kim Reynolds,” DeSantis said.
“There’s certain little enclaves in our country that may be popular,” DeSantis told the crowd at a Davenport casino Friday morning. “But it’s not popular with the vast majority of people. And I think it showed. From what we showed in Florida, not only can you have a good agenda and deliver, you can make big inroads with the electorate. And that’s exactly what we did. To go from a 32,000 to 1.5 million (vote) margin, it doesn’t happen by accident.”
“We refused to let our state descend into some sort of Faucian dystopia,” DeSantis said.
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Iowa Gov. Kim Reynolds called DeSantis a “man on a mission” and a “good friend” who she got to know during the height of the COVID-19 pandemic.
“With absolutely no playbook, we both focused on protecting the lives and livelihoods and the freedoms of our citizens,” she said.
“It’s an open field,” influential Iowa Republican Bob Vander Plaats told CBS News correspondent Robert Costa. “There’s a lot of Republicans who really liked what President Trump did and the Trump administration did, but there’s a real pause. Is he the right one to carry the baton in 2024? Has America made up their mind about the former president?”
On Monday, former President Donald Trump will make his first visit to Iowa since he announced his campaign last year.
With DeSantis in Iowa Friday, former President Trump lashed out at on Truth Social, calling Florida’s Governor “Ron DeSanctimonious.”
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“Very small crowds for Ron DeSanctimonious in Iowa. He’s against Farmers, Social Security, and Medicare, so why would people show up – other than Fake stories from the Fake News!” said Trump on Truth Social.
“Remember FARMERS, I got China to pay you 28 Billion Dollars as an adjustment for how unfairly they treated you. This was part of the great Trade Deal I made for you with China (Biden is not properly enforcing it!). No other President could have done this. No other President was as PRO FARMER as me. Tell that to Ron DeSanctimonious when he shows up to your door, hat in hand. Tell him to go home!” Trump said.
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