His first rally will be held at an Evangelical Church in west Des Moines. This was an intentional selection by his campaign because Evangelical Christians are the most influential group in the Iowa Republican presidential caucuses — a group faithful to former President Donald Trump that DeSantis is trying to swoop in on.
As DeSantis’ visit ends, former President Donald Trump is also scheduled to arrive in the state on Thursday for a private meeting with pastors. He’s trading in his large rallies for more intimate settings, meeting with around 100 voters at a breakfast in Urbandale.
DeSantis could lean on these voters to win in Iowa. He’s expected to highlight Florida’s new law banning abortion after six weeks of pregnancy that Trump criticized as “too harsh.”
Trump refused to support a national ban on the procedure during his last town hall. However, Trump can promote his record: nominating three Supreme Court Justices that helped overturn Roe v. Wade, the 1973 ruling that legalized abortion nationwide.
The two just missed each other in Iowa a few weeks ago when Trump canceled his rally due to weather concerns. That same day, DeSantis toured the state.
Trump’s campaign told NewsNation that his Iowa rally was just postponed, rather than canceled completely, but it is not scheduled to happen this week.
So, why are many Republicans focused on the red state?
Iowa is the host of the nation’s first presidential caucuses. What happens there sets the tone for the rest of the nominating contests.
For DeSantis, a win in Iowa could help him on his path to defeating Trump. However, the growing GOP field could also work to Trump’s advantage.
The more candidates running for office, the more likely the vote will be split among nominees.
Trump’s campaign told NewsNation that the bigger the field, the better the chances are for Trump to pull off a primary victory, especially as his base support remains intact.
Plus, GOP hopefuls are rushing to the side of Iowa Gov. Kim Reynolds, who has been seen at events with 2024 candidates former South Carolina Gov. Nikki Haley and entrepreneur Vivek Ramaswamy, as well as both Trump and DeSantis.
Haley even gushed that Reynolds was the “best governor in the country” — a subtle jab at DeSantis.
The Wall Street Journal even reported that Reynolds has been mentioned as a potential vice presidential pick.
However, Reynolds has no plans to endorse a particular candidate before the Iowa caucuses. Neither does Iowa Republican Sen. Joni Ernst, who is inviting all prospective and declared GOP candidates to her annual Roast and Ride event this weekend.
The event starts with a motorcycle ride at the Harley-Davidson and ends at the Iowa State Fairgrounds with a roast and rally, according to its website.
Among those set to attend the Roast and Ride are Haley, South Carolina Sen. Tim Scott and former Vice President Mike Pence. Pence has yet to enter the race — but could be doing so in the coming weeks.
DeSantis’ campaign confirmed to NewsNation that he will also attend the Roast and Ride, but is also set to travel from Iowa to New Hampshire and South Carolina to kick off his “Great American Comeback Tour.”
“At this stage of the game, it’s really about the process. It’s about organizing on the ground,” Republican strategist Boyd Matheson said on “NewsNation Live” Tuesday. “I think that’ll be one of the real challenges for Gov. DeSantis — is can you make that person-to-person connection that’s so vital, not only in Iowa, but in New Hampshire and in South Carolina?”