Ron DeSantis has made good on one campaign promise. Recently, the Florida governor completed his tour of Iowa, becoming the first candidate in the 2024 election cycle to visit all 99 counties of the Hawkeye State.
DeSantis celebrated his campaign milestone by holding a rally in Jasper County, just northeast of the state capital of Des Moines.
— Gloria Taylor (@Glo_Tay) December 4, 2023
“I don’t think doing the 99 counties is just about the caucus. … The fact that I’m willing to do this, that should show you that I consider myself a servant, not a ruler. And that’s how people that get elected should consider themselves,” he said at the rally Saturday.
With just over six weeks until the January 15 Iowa caucuses, DeSantis remains well behind the party front-runner, former President Donald Trump, and is running out of time to catch a spark. Meanwhile, the surging campaign of former South Carolina Gov. Nikki Haley has turned its attention to the Hawkeye State, further complicating DeSantis’ path to a victory in a place he is all-in on winning.
Now, DeSantis’ presidential bid hinges on how Iowa Republicans, who have long prized retail campaigning, respond to the early and persistent connections he has made while logging thousands of miles through the state’s cornfields and wind farms.
“I think you have to do that to win Iowa,” DeSantis said Thursday about visiting the state’s 99 counties. “I think that’s what voters want to see. I think they want to be able to meet you, they want to be able to ask your questions.”
As the caucuses fast approach, more and more commentators have begun to say they think DeSantis will be rewarded for his effort in Iowa.
I actually think DeSantis, more likely than not, will win Iowa.
— Erick Erickson (@EWErickson) December 3, 2023
That sense has yet to show up in polls, however. A Des Moines Register/NBC News/Mediacom Iowa Poll from November revealed Trump to be well ahead of his Florida rival, topping both DeSantis and former UN Ambassador Nikki Haley by over 25 percent.