Iowa GOP opens to non-Trump candidates as 2024 begins

The persistent flirtation of former President Donald Trump with another White House run is not enough to deter other potential Republican candidates.

Iowa GOP opens to non-Trump candidates as 2024 begins

They are increasing their activity in Iowa, which will officially launch the 2024 Nomination Process.

Former Secretary of State Mike Pompeo has quietly completed his fifth trip to Iowa. Former UN Ambassador Nikki Haley plans to make a statewide visit this summer. Meanwhile, Mike Pence , former Vice President, will be visiting the conservative western Iowa heartland this weekend.

Pence's trip to China is notable because he spent nearly four years with Trump. This further supports the claim that Pence's life was under threat by Trump supporters during the violent January. 6 rebellion at the U.S. Capitol. He is now considering his political future, without any regard for the plans of the former president.

Marc Short, a senior adviser to Pence, stated that Pence and Karen will plan their future based on "whereever they are called to serve" and not on "what anyone else is doing," including Trump.

Trump, who is based at Mar-a-Lago in Florida, closely monitors the events in Iowa and works with state operatives to ensure he dominates the caucuses should he decide to run. Some Republicans say Trump does not have the state under control.

His status as a former president, who is still deeply loved by the GOP base, "doesn’t mean that someone else with a right message could’t appeal to them" said David Kochel. A veteran Iowa Republican campaign strategist.

Pence seems ready to get in on the action, particularly in the vast swathe of western and northern Iowa where Christian conservatives have swept the three GOP caucus winners. Pence will be making his third visit to Iowa after the 2020 election. He will campaign with Rep. Randy Feenstra, Republican-heavy 4th Congressional District. The day will end with a speech at the Ames County GOP Meeting.

He last month laid out a policy agenda for 2022 candidates . The comment could hint at a confrontation between Trump and his false claim that voter fraud cost him a second term .

Both federal and state election officials, as well as Trump's attorney general, have stated that there is no evidence of fraud in the election. The allegations of fraud made by the former president were rejected by the courts, as well as by Trump's appointed judges.

Trump has criticized Pence's inability to stop the certification of the Electoral College votes that declared Joe Biden the winner. Vice presidents have a ceremonial role only in the counting of Electoral College vote. Any attempt to interfere with the count would be an extraordinary violation and an attack on the democratic process, causing a constitutional crisis.

Pence only publicly discredited Trump's claims this year stating in February that the former president was "wrong". to claim that he had the ability to unilaterally reverse the results of the 2020 elections. After Russia's invasion of Ukraine, he distanced himself further from Trump. He stated, "There's no place in this party to apologists." For Vladimir Putin, who Trump has praised.

As the war in Ukraine intensifies, Putin has been more critical of his predecessor.

The November midterm elections will not likely see the full court press of the GOP in Iowa. The party has committed to preserving Iowa's status of the home of the first nomination contest. This contrasts with Democrats who are boldly taking unprecedented steps to change their calendar and possibly concentrate power in more racially diverse states.

Pompeo recently completed a two-day visit to western Iowa. He has been a frequent visitor to the state, appearing at county, state, and local GOP meetings. Arkansas Senator Tom Cotton holds the lead in Iowa visits with six. A seventh is planned for July.

Ted Cruz from Texas, the winner of the 2016 Iowa GOP caucus, has visited and endorsed candidates for Congress.

It's not clear that Iowa GOP activists are gaining much support from anyone visiting the state, despite the activity. Recent interviews with 12 county Republican activists, GOP consultants, and donors focused largely on Florida Governor. Ron DeSantis has not yet visited the state. He was a Nebraska governor's guest. Pete Ricketts at a September fundraiser south Omaha.

Gwen Ecklund (ex-Royal county chair), of Crawford County, conservative western Iowa, stated that "there are a lot of people that are interesting" and that Ron DeSantis is just one of them.

Governor of the third-most populous state in the nation, DeSantis has become a vocal voice in support of LGBTQ issues. He refused to acknowledge the transgender woman who won the NCAA women’s freestyle championship. Last month, he signed a bill forbidding sexual orientation and gender identity instruction for elementary school students. This law has been criticized by opponents as the "Don’t Say Gay” law.

He is now in a heated fight with Disney executives who have criticised the anti-LGBTQ legislation. On Thursday, the Florida legislature passed a bill which would prohibit Walt Disney World from operating a private government over state properties.

Cam Sutton, a retired insurance executive from suburban Des Moines describes DeSantis as being similar to Trump in policy.

Sutton was part of a group of wealthy Iowa Republicans that traveled to New Jersey in 2011, in order to recruit then-Gov. Chris Christie will run for 2012. Sutton and others are still in touch with Christie. We wouldn't be surprised if he ran in 2012, just like he did in 2016.

Trump is still wildly popular with Iowa Republicans. According to The Des Moines Register's Iowa Poll, 91% of Iowa Republicans viewed Trump favorably in October.

During Trump's last appearance in Iowa that month, he drew tens to thousands to the Iowa State Fairgrounds. He endorsed Sen. Chuck Grassley of Iowa, who is running for an eighth term.

Iowa staff members working for his super PAC met recently at the Florida residence of the former president to discuss his Iowa plans. They were mindful of the attention that others would receive.

Ecklund of Crawford County said, "Oh, I'm sure there are some who cannot wait for him to race again." "But others are sat back and starting pay attention to other people."

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