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DeSantis and Trump Rival Each Other With Dueling Rallies in Iowa

AP Photo/File

Editor's note: This article has been updated due to President Trump's Iowa rally being canceled. 

Former President Trump and Gov. Ron DeSantis (R-FL) both scheduled Iowa events on Saturday to try and sway voters on their conservative message in campaign-style rallies. However, Trump was forced to cancel his rally due to inclement weather. 


DeSantis will headline Rep. Randy Feenstra’s (R-IA) annual Family Picnic in Sioux Center and speak at a state GOP fundraiser in Cedar Rapids, while Trump had planned to head to Des Moines-- it is unclear if he will reschedule his rally. 

Although the two Republicans would have been hours away from each other, the events could have given insight into how the GOP powerhouses will match up should DeSantis decide to make his bid for the 2024 White House. 

Trump would have made his first public appearance following his successful CNN town hall but fresh from being found liable in a New York City case against columnist E. Jean Carroll who accused him of sexually assaulting her. 

The Iowa event will be DeSantis’s first trip after the Florida legislature adjourned last week following months of speculation he was waiting until early summer to announce his 2024 run. 

During his speech in red-dominated states, DeSantis highlighted the importance of focusing the 2024 election on the future and not the past, arguing that the past gives President Joe Biden more power to beat Republicans.


"If we make the 2024 election a referendum on Joe Biden and his failures, and if we provide a positive alternative for the future of this country," DeSantis began. Adding, "If we focus the election on the past or on other side issues, then I think the Democrats are going to beat us again. And I think it'll be very difficult to recover from that defeat."

The primary super PAC backing DeSantis, Never Back Down, has already laid the groundwork for an Iowa operation, hiring half a dozen staffers in the state to rally support for him ahead of an expected campaign launch. The group also noted that the governor’s scheduled appearance at Feenstra’s picnic had already broken RSVP records. The PAC has already run ads supporting the Florida superstar and encouraging voters to hop on the DeSantis train. 

Trump, on the other hand, has several high-profile backers, including his former acting Attorney General, Matthew Whitaker, and former Rep. Rod Blum (R-IA). 

According to a CBS News-YouGov poll published earlier this month, Trump tops DeSantis by 36 points. 


The poll found that voters were most likely to pick Trump as the GOP nominee out of the primary field with 58 percent of the vote, followed by DeSantis with 22 percent in a hypothetical matchup. 

Three-quarters of respondents from the poll say they would back Trump again because “he actually won in 2020.” In addition, more than 90 percent cite his performance as president and that “he fights for people like me” as another reason for giving Trump a second chance. 

Eighty-four percent of those backing Trump believe he would beat President Joe Biden, who just launched his reelection bid. 

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