WASHINGTON (AP) — ron desantis plans to kick off his presidential campaign in Iowa on Tuesday, the start of a busy week that will take him to 12 cities in three states as he tests his pitch as the former president’s most formidable Republican challenger. donald trump.
The Florida governor’s two-day trip to the opening caucus state, beginning in a suburban Des Moines megachurch and ending at a Cedar Rapids race track, comes after a stumbling online ad last week that he formalized his long-awaited entry into the growing Republican camp. He will be followed by stops in the first primary states of New Hampshire and South Carolina.
DeSantis’ scheduled stop Tuesday night at Eternity Church in Clive is a clear nod to the evangelical Christians who wield enormous influence in Iowa’s Republican presidential caucuses. His visit will give voters a chance to meet the new candidate just as he has been intensifying his criticism of Trump.
“He has a big hill to climb, and I think everyone would agree with that, to be able to convince people that he can beat Trump, that he can do as good a job, if not better than Trump,” Bernie said. Hayes, the Republican chairman in Linn County, where DeSantis plans to wrap up his trip to Iowa on Wednesday.
DeSantis, attacked by Trump for months, went from oblique jabs to direct questioning of the former president’s conservative credentials during a round of interviews with friendly media last week, particularly his handling of the coronavirus pandemic and criminal justice record.
DeSantis called a bipartisan bill Trump signed in 2018 that reduced mandatory minimum federal prison sentences and allows a path for nonviolent offenders to reduce prison time “a breakout bill.” As a member of Congress, DeSantis voted in favor of an early version of the measure, but left Congress after being elected governor and before the final, less stringent bill passed.
DeSantis also said that Trump wrongly “handed the country over to Fauci,” referring to Anthony Fauci, a former director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases who helped lead the country’s response to the COVID-19 pandemic.
DeSantis announced his campaign Wednesday night during an online chat with Twitter CEO Elon Musk. The audio stream was repeatedly blocked, making it difficult for most users to hear the announcement in real time. a stumble campaign officials and others were quick to dismiss as a minor setback.
DeSantis was not intimidated by laying out his message, that conservative legislative victories this year in Florida, mainly on cultural issues like restricting discussion of sexual orientation in schools, are the antidote to what he calls an increasingly controlled nation. More to the far left.
“American decline is not inevitable, it’s a choice,” DeSantis said during the glitchy audio broadcast. “And we must choose a new direction, a path that leads to American revitalization.”
DeSantis has a Race start in Iowa and other early voting states, thanks to Never Back Down, a super political action committee that is using the money the group can receive in unlimited sums from wealthy taxpayers to start organizing support for it. Campaign finance law requires the group to do its job without coordinating with DeSantis.
Iowans should see the group’s staff and volunteers working the perimeter of DeSantis’ church event in Clive on Tuesday, as well as Wednesday’s events in Sioux City and Council Bluffs in conservative western Iowa, and in the manufacturing and college town of Pella in east-central Iowa before the finish in Cedar Rapids. By making his offer official, DeSantis gives the group a support figure whose events it can attend, even if it can’t coordinate with DeSantis’ official campaign group.
The tactic, untested and not without risk, is aimed at maximizing super PAC dollars. It’s also a way to help DeSantis compete in Iowa to catch Trump, whose campaign says he has amassed thousands of supporters thanks to a more disciplined and data-driven outreach effort than Trump’s 2016 campaign. in second place, but with thousands of potential followers who were not contacted by the campaign.
And Trump, in addition to his regular barrages on social media attacking DeSantis, has tried to follow him in Iowa to prove his own popularity. In March, Trump headlined an event at a Davenport theater three days after DeSantis addressed an audience and answered questions from Iowa Gov. Kim Reynolds during the Florida governor’s tour to promote her memoir.
Two weeks ago, Trump scheduled a rally in Des Moines for the same day that DeSantis was headlining Iowa Republican rallies in western and eastern Iowa as a guest of Rep. Randy Feenstra and the state GOP. However, Trump canceled the outdoor event on the day he was due to arrive due to threats of bad weather.
Turning the tables on Trump, DeSantis swooped into Des Moines that night for an impromptu appearance that helped his campaign create the desired impression of him dancing in the ring with the heavyweight.
Trump is scheduled to return to Iowa on Thursday, a day after DeSantis’ tour, and is expected to hold events in the Des Moines area, meet with influential conservatives and attend an interview that evening with the Fox News host. Channel, Sean Hannity.