Republican presidential candidate Ron DeSantis’ campaign is boasting of endorsements and the latest poll numbers as signaling growing ground support in Iowa.
DeSantis’ team said he’s received a historic 40 endorsements from state legislators and has a total of 120 county-level chairs supporting him – at least one in each of the state’s 99 counties. That’s the most of any candidate in the race, DeSantis campaign spokeswoman Carly Atchison told Fox News Digital.
The Florida governor — just months away from Iowa caucus day — also has more than 10,000 Iowans committed to caucus for him, representing one-fifth of the total Iowans who caucused for former presidential candidate Sen. Ted Cruz, R-Texas, when Cruz won the Iowa caucuses in 2016.
“It’s not just the promises that are being made or the ideas that he’s bringing to the table. Those are a big part of it, don’t get me wrong. But it’s also the fact that he can point back to what he’s accomplished in the state of Florida, which is very similar to what we have been doing here in the state of Iowa,” Iowa state Rep. Matt Windschitl, who endorsed DeSantis months ago, told Fox News Digital Monday.
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Republican presidential candidate and Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis makes his way through the Iowa State Fair Aug.12, 2023, in Des Moines, Iowa. (Ricky Carioti/The Washington Post via Getty Images)
“There’s almost a mirror reflection in the underlying policies. The governor has said, ‘Here’s what we’re going to do, and I’m not going to stop until we get it done. I’m not going to back down.’ And he’s been able to accomplish that. That resonates because that’s promises made and promises kept.”
DeSantis’ campaign said he is the only candidate who has committed to doing the 99-county tour.
“Nobody is working harder in Iowa than Ron DeSantis, who has visited 38 of 99 counties so far and boasts the most endorsements from state legislators than anyone else in the race,” Atchison said in a statement to Fox News Digital. “The more Iowans see and hear Ron DeSantis in person, the more his message to reverse our nation’s decline and revive the American dream will continue to resonate.”
“I mean, you can’t turn on the TV without seeing the political ads from the super PACs and things like that. But you can’t buy Iowa and the caucuses,” Windschitl said. “You have to actually get out there through the grassroots. And I think with the governor not only having the boots on the ground, him personally and the first lady personally, but having support in all 99 counties with county chairs stepping up to say, ‘We’re going to help get some more people to go to the caucuses,’ having over 10,000 Iowans already committed to saying that, yes, they’re going to go to caucus for the governor, and we’re only five months away. I mean, that’s a big deal.
“That tells me that the momentum is there,” Windschitl added. “Things are building. And I think it’s truly, truly a message to the other early states as the governor travels to those states. Hey, Iowans are hearing what the governor’s saying. Everybody else should listen as well, because it is making a difference here in Iowa.”
GOP presidential candidate Vivek Ramaswamy has recently gained some ground in polls ahead of the first Republican primary debate. (Sergio Flores/AFP via Getty Images)
Fox News Digital recently reported that political newcomer Vivek Ramaswamy, who’s received a recent surge in polls days before the first GOP primary debate in Milwaukee, received the first endorsement from a statewide official in Iowa. Iowa Treasurer Roby Smith announced that he threw his support behind Ramaswamy, crediting him as the candidate best suited to revive American economic prosperity and lead the crusade against “crony capitalism” like ESG [environmental, social and corporate governance] and CBDCs [central bank digital currency].
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Despite having more than $20 million spent against him, DeSantis is still viewed as favorable by two-thirds of likely caucus-goers, the highest favorability of any candidate in the field, according to a new Des Moines Register/NBC News/Mediacom Iowa Poll of 406 likely Republican caucus-goers conducted Aug. 13-17.
Windschitl, however, cautioned against relying on poll numbers at this stage.
“A follow-up question that you have to ask is, are those people that are expressing that opinion that you’re basing those poll numbers off of actually caucus-goers? Are those people that are going to go through the caucus, the convention process through the primary and continue to support that candidate?” he told Fox News Digital.
“That makes a difference, and the numbers that we’re seeing for the numbers that are already committed to Gov. DeSantis to not only support him now through the caucus process, but actually show up at caucus in January and caucus for him, that’s – that’s a drastically different number than what I think those polls are showing.”
Former President Donald Trump greets visitors at the Iowa Pork Producers booth during the 2023 Iowa State Fair Aug. 12, 2023. (Demetrius Freeman/The Washington Post via Getty Images)
The Des Moines Register poll shows 66% of respondents viewed DeSantis favorably, compared to 29% who saw him as unfavorable. This was ahead of the current frontrunner, former President Donald Trump, who was viewed as favorable by 65% of respondents.
DeSantis is also the first choice, second choice or being actively considered by 61% of likely caucus-goers, just slightly behind the 63% of respondents who said the same for Trump. No other candidate has broken out of single digits.
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Overall, Trump garnered 42% support as the top choice in the new poll of Iowa’s likely Republican caucus-goers, leading by 23 points over DeSantis, who garnered 19% support.
Sen. Tim Scott, R-S.C., came in third place with 9% support, while former U.N. Ambassador Nikki Haley and former Vice President Mike Pence tied for fourth at 6%.