Trump Iowa Visit Tests Appetite for Another Presidential Bid

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The former Republican president will rally in the state where the race for the nomination traditionally begins

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Iowa Republican activists expressed different views when asked how much support Trump would receive for a third White House campaign in the state.

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“My preference is that Donald Trump has a role to play in the direction of our country and the party and has some influence over the candidates, but I think it would be best for someone else to be the standard-bearer,” said Mark Lundberg, a financial adviser. and the former Republican president in northwestern Iowa’s Sioux County, one of the state’s most conservative areas.

Former Iowa state GOP chairman Rich Schwarm said there is strong support for Mr. Trump’s policies among Republican voters there. However, there are mixed feelings about “is he the strongest messenger” for the party. “I think if he had run he would have been the frontrunner here,” he said.

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Two of Mr Trump’s aides did not respond to emails seeking comment.

There is no question that Mr Trump, 75, remains the key figure in the GOP. Events following his White House have attracted large crowds, candidates in heavily Republican constituencies have longed for his support, and his fundraising since November has proved prodigious.

A Des Moines Register/Mediacom iowa pole It was released earlier this week that Mr Trump now has a high favorability rating as president in the dominant state, with 53% of Iovans—including 91% of Republicans—viewing him positively. The state’s most respected political poll did not ask Republicans if they would like to see him run again.

conclusions of a national survey The nonpartisan Pew Research Center released this week showed that 44% of Republicans and GOP-leaning independents want Mr. Trump to run for the White House again, while 32% say they wish he was now a Don’t be the dominant national political figure. Another 22% say they want him to remain a prominent figure in politics, but would prefer to support another candidate who shares his views rather than run himself.

Mr. Trump, who led Iowa by more than 8 percentage points last November, long understands the political importance of the state, where neighborhood gatherings called caucuses closed the race for the presidential nomination for nearly five decades. Is.

He finished second in the 2016 caucus behind Sen. Ted Cruz of Texas. If Mr Trump goes ahead with the 2024 campaign, some GOP activists in the state say he will not be assured of an easy victory in the caucus.

“I don’t see an immediate coronation,” said Republican activist and former state senator Mary Kramer, who was appointed ambassador to the Eastern Caribbean by President George W. Bush. , they see them as very divisive.”

To show his interest in Iowa, Trump in August appointed two political activists in the state—Eric Branstad and Alex Latchum—as advisers to his Save America political-action committee.

Mr Branstad assisted Trump in his 2016 and 2020 campaigns in the state and is the son of former Iowa Governor Terry Branstad, who served as Mr Trump’s ambassador to China. Mr. Latcham, who worked for the Trump campaigns and the White House, previously helped with Iowa’s presidential efforts for Mitt Romney and worked for the state party.

Republican Party of Iowa President Jeff Kaufman said Mr Trump was completely focused on next year’s midterm election – which includes a potentially competitive House race in the state – when the two men spoke on the phone in August.

“They never brought him running for president,” Mr. Kaufman said. “He understands very clearly that potentially the way to a majority in the federal House of Representatives is through Iowa and he certainly wants to be part of that.”

Mr Kaufman said Mr Trump would start with a strong position in the state, but he would still be expected to campaign extensively there. “Even someone who is getting a 91% approval rating has to make his case for running for president,” he said.

Other potential 2024 GOP candidates are also traveling to the state this year, including three from Trump’s administration: former Vice President Mike Pence, former Secretary of State Mike Pompeo and former UN ambassador Nikki Haley. Tom Cotton of Arkansas has also visited this year, as has South Dakota Gov. Kristi Noem.

“By the time we don’t get to 2022, we’ll probably have 12 to 15 potential candidates,” Mr. Kaufman said. “The activity level here for the first year in the four-year cycle has certainly been stronger than before.”

Mr. Trump would endorse Republican Sen. Chuck Grassley, a piece of business off the stage. The 88-year-old said late last month that he plans to run for an eighth term, a decision that boosted his chances of grabbing the GOP seat and potentially gaining control of the chamber in 2022.

Messrs. Trump and Grassley have had a generally cordial relationship, although a senior Iowa senator criticized the then president for his role in the January 6 attack on the Capitol by a mob of his supporters.

While the Democratic National Committee is considering changing the order of its nomination calendar, Republicans have shown no sign of changing a schedule that traditionally had Iowa’s caucus first and New Hampshire’s primary second.

write to John McCormick at [email protected]


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