DES MOINES, IA – Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis starts his Tuesday in his home state, performing his gubernatorial duties as he delivers the State of the State address in Tallahassee.
But hours later, the Republican presidential candidate will return to the campaign trail in Iowa, where he’ll take part in a Fox News town hall.
DeSantis will take questions from “Special Report” chief political anchor Bret Baier and “The Story” executive editor and anchor Martha MacCallum, and also field questions from members of the live audience at the town hall in Des Moines, Iowa’s capital and largest city.
DeSantis, who won an overwhelming victory 14 months ago to clinch a second four-year term steering Florida, was for months solidly in second place in the race for the 2024 GOP presidential nomination, behind former President Trump, who’s the commanding front-runner.
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Republican presidential candidate Florida Governor Ron DeSantis arrives for a campaign rally at the Thunderdome on December 2, 2023 in Newton, Iowa. ((Photo by Scott Olson/Getty Images))
But after a series of setbacks over the summer, which triggered weeks of negative stories spotlighting his campaign’s overspending, staff layoffs, change of leadership and other issues, DeSantis saw his support in the polls erode.
Rival Nikki Haley, the former South Carolina governor who served as ambassador to the United Nations in the Trump administration, in recent weeks has caught up with DeSantis for second place in the polls in Iowa — whose Jan. 15 caucuses lead off the GOP nominating calendar — and in national surveys.
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Haley also surpassed DeSantis and surged to second place and narrowed the gap with Trump in New Hampshire, which holds the first primary — just eight days after Iowa.
Former ambassador to the United Nations and former South Carolina Gov. Nikki Haley, a 2024 Republican presidential candidate, joins Fox News’ Bret Baier and Martha MacCallum for a town hall, on Jan. 8, 2023 in Des Moines, Iowa (Fox News – Paul Steinhauser)
DeSantis has staked his shot at the nomination on a strong showing in Iowa and has, for weeks, predicted a victory in the Hawkeye State.
“We’re going to win here in Iowa,” he told Fox News Digital on the campaign trail in the eastern part of the state the week before Christmas.
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And he predicted the caucuses “will be very clarifying in terms of who is a real deal and who’s not. So, we look forward to that.”
But in recent days, DeSantis appears to have tempered his expectations, telling Fox News on Sunday that “we’re gonna have a good showing here.”
Haley joined Fox News on Monday for a similar town hall, with Trump taking questions from Baier and MacCallum on Wednesday.
Get the latest updates from the 2024 campaign trail, exclusive interviews and more at our Fox News Digital election hub.