GOP Congressman Chip Roy, a surrogate for Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis on the 2024 presidential campaign trail, spoke to Fox News Digital about a week out from the Iowa caucus and said DeSantis is surging at the right time and is on track to outperform expectations next week.
“There’s a massive surge going on for governor DeSantis,” Roy explained. “It really is interesting and people are engaging in and focusing, not just listening to the noise and not just listening to the polls.”
Former President Trump holds a roughly 30-point lead on DeSantis in Iowa, according to the Real Clear Politics average of polls, but Roy told Fox News Digital the enthusiasm he has seen on the ground suggests the caucus will be closer than people think and that polls aren’t the same thing as showing up next Monday to actually caucus.
“The governor was at a massive church service in Des Moines that had like 2000 people… He’s been doing event after event after event. Thomas Massie and I have been with him standing room only in a lot of places, people packed in, packed house,” Roy said.
“They a make a lot out of this, ‘Oh he’s at an event that only has 200 or 300,’ and President Trump was in one that has a thousand or something. First off, I’m not sure I trust the numbers. I’ve seen some pretty empty spaces in some Trump places, but this is how it works in Iowa. You’re going town to town. He’s been to 99 counties, 200 events. And you go to these places, you go to these restaurants, and you talk to the elders and you talk to the people.”
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CEDAR RAPIDS, IOWA – AUGUST 06: Republican presidential candidate Florida Governor Ron DeSantis Speaks to guests at Ashley’s BBQ Bash hosted by Congresswoman Ashley Hinson (R-IA) on August 06, 2023 in Cedar Rapids, Iowa. Seven of the 14 GOP candidates seeking the party’s nomination for president were scheduled to speak at the event. (Scott Olson/Getty Images)
“Casey and I met yesterday with 25 people. That’s how you do it, right? We sat down, and we converted a number of folks who were on the fence, there were a number of folks in there who are already in the governor’s camp. Lots of energy, lots of enthusiasm. Trajectory is strongly upward, and I think the trajectory of both Trump and Haley is going down, and the governor is looking good a week out.”
Roy told Fox News Digital that Iowa voters he has spoken to “did not like getting dismissed by Nikki Haley when she said New Hampshire would have to correct them” and he believes her stock is “plummeting.” Additionally, Roy said the message that DeSantis can accomplish the promises Trump made but didn’t see through is gaining traction.
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“Governor DeSantis isn’t a Never Trumper,” Roy said. “He believes that we need to actually finish the things that the former president started. That’s the actual truth. And that message is resonating. The former president said he would build a wall that Mexico paid for. That didn’t happen.”
“He said he would deal with birthright citizenship. He didn’t sign the executive order. He said he’d get Obamacare repealed. Didn’t happen. Then he saddles us with Anthony Fauci, and I’m shutting down our economy and mandating vaccines and masks, $8 trillion in debt. Gov. DeSantis fought all that. Fought Disney. Delivered. And then won by a million and a half votes, that stuff is resonating. I’m serious.”
Rep. Chip Roy, left, and Gov. Ron DeSantis, right (Getty Images)
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Roy said that the top issues voters in Iowa are saying matter to them are immigration and the economy, two issues that Roy believes DeSantis has shown leadership when he flew illegal immigrants to Martha’s vineyard “sparking” that conversation or the way he handled Florida’s economy.
Roy also explained that Trump’s legal issues, while unfair, are still a factor with voters who are wary of risking losing the presidential election if the race becomes a referendum on Trump.
“You can’t afford to risk losing this election,” Roy said. “Freedom hangs in the balance and everyone in Iowa knows it. We can’t afford to do that. So why would we walk away from a proven governor who has knocked it out of the park, delivered on every promise, and, frankly, delivered a lot of things the president didn’t in DC. Why would we walk away from that in favor of someone who’s going to have to deal with legal issues, fair or not?”
DES MOINES, IA, August 12, 2023: Governor of Florida Ron DeSantis flips pork chops and burgers at the Iowa Pork Producers booth during the 2023 Iowa State Fair on Saturday August 12, 2023. ((Photo by Demetrius Freeman/The Washington Post via Getty Images))
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Roy told Fox News Digital that Monday’s caucus will “absolutely” be “closer than people think.”
“I think you should keep a really sharp eye on whether the former president is able to clear a majority of voters in Iowa,” Roy said. “I don’t think he will. I think he’s going to fall short. We’ll see. I think that’s pretty telling, and I think Gov. DeSantis is going to be strongly outperforming what people think, and we’ll see where that lands.”