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DeSantis courts voters in Iowa as Trump cancels rally due to weather

Gov. Ron DeSantis in Iowa took several not-at-all-subtle swings at former President Donald Trump.
DeSantis courts voters in Iowa as Trump cancels rally due to weather
Posted at 6:31 PM, May 13, 2023

Something was cooking Saturday, and it wasn’t on the grill but on the minds of almost everyone at the Sioux Center, Iowa, event: Will Gov. Ron DeSantis announce a White House run?

No, no announcement, but Iowans did get almost everything else you’d expect from a presidential candidate, from the meet and greet to the stump speech, which included support for a border wall, scaling down federal bureaucracy, fighting "woke-ism," and several not-at-all-subtle swings at former President Donald Trump.

"After watching all the good stuff you’ve done in Iowa, it may be that Florida is the Iowa of the Southeast," said DeSantis to the crowd. "Governing is not about entertaining. Governing is not about building a brand, or talking on social media, and virtue signaling; it’s ultimately about winning and producing results. That’s what you’ve done in Iowa and what we’ve done in Florida."

DeSantis is having a good couple of days in Iowa.

Besides packing rooms, he snagged at least 37 presidential endorsements from Iowa state lawmakers, including heavy hitters like the Iowa House Majority Leader.

"We need a leader that is actually focused on the future. Yes— he has not announced yet, but I am trying to work with him, encourage him and his team to say yes to this opportunity to get out there and fight the fight that I know he’s got in him," said Rep. Matt Windschitl, (R) Harrison County.

SEE MORE: Trump ups competition with DeSantis in planning trip to Iowa

DeSantis Super PAC Never Back Down said to expect more of the same as Iowans start to see Ron as Donald — without the baggage.

"The more they know about the man, the more they like him. When you couple that with unapologetic leadership and legislative success, as they’ve seen in Florida, people get really excited about that," said Erin Perrine, communications director of Never Back Down.

One of those people is already very excited.

"We are waiting for Gov. DeSantis to announce we’re ready," said Kay Quirk.

Quirk, who’s started her own grassroots effort to get Iowans to back a DeSantis ticket. 

"I don’t like drama. I like the fact that Gov. DeSantis just gets it done," Quirk said.

But other people Scripps News spoke to said they were on the fence.

"I don’t know him well enough to know yet," said one person, and another said, "I don’t know. I’m going to have to wait and see. There’s a whole year and a half yet."

Trump had his fans as well, some hoping for a compromise.

"Probably the Republican dream ticket would be Trump-DeSantis. DeSantis as vice president," said a Trump fan.

However, that might be a tall order for Trump, who keeps taking swipes at the governor online and in person.

But not Saturday, as severe weather in central Iowa looks to be the reason Trump is canceling his rally in Des Moines. 

Even so, Trump still holds a lead in fresh polling from Iowa and Florida, though political experts think it's too early to take it seriously.

In the meantime, the nation waits and wonders what the governor’s next move will be—back to Florida or the campaign trail. 

Former President Trump has said he will reschedule his Des Moines rally soon. DeSantis, meanwhile, will be in Cedar Rapids for a state GOP fundraiser.

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