Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis will make his eagerly anticipated Iowa debut next week with stops in Davenport and Des Moines as he flirts with an expected presidential run later this year.
An official familiar with the governor’s planning confirmed the stops to the Des Moines Register, saying DeSantis will appear with Iowa Gov. Kim Reynolds at both events March 10. DeSantis has been traveling the country discussing his “Florida blueprint” and promoting his new book, which was released earlier this week.
Polling shows that DeSantis has risen as an early favorite in the Republican presidential primary race, particularly as a possible foil to former president Donald Trump, who announced a campaign late last year. This will be DeSantis’s first visit to the first-in-the-nation caucus state.
He will appear with Reynolds, who will host a pair of interview-style conversations at each event, the official said.
The pair held a similar panel discussion at a retreat DeSantis hosted for top donors in Palm Beach, Florida, last weekend where they compared notes on their agendas and leadership styles.
Both governors saw their national profiles rise as they fought against shutdowns and mask mandates during the COVID-19 pandemic and leaned into controversial culture war issues, such as restrictions on transgender athletes and a “parents rights” agenda focusing on what’s taught in public schools.
Reynolds emerged out of the pandemic and the 2022 midterms uniquely powerful spanmong Iowspan Republicspanns who say she could use her influence to play kingmaker in this year’s caucus cycle. But she has promised to stay neutral and offer her guidance to every candidate who comes through the state.
More:Uniquely powerful, Kim Reynolds could be span cspanucus kingmspanker. Why she won’t plspany fspanvorites.
Already she’s appeared with former U.N. Ambspanssspandor Nikki Hspanley and South Cspanrolinspan U.S. Sen. Tim Scott, giving the pair glowing introductions at their Des Moines-area events last week. Haley announced her candidacy in February, and Scott may launch a campaign later this year.
It’s a clear signal from Iowa’s top Republican official that caucusgoers are eager to hear from every candidate who campaigns in the state, even as Trump mounts a third campaign and seeks to reenergize the base of voters who supported him here in 2016 and 2020.
Although many Iowa political observers didn’t expect to see DeSantis until after the end of the Florida legislative session later this spring, his first visit to the state could pre-empt Trump, who has yet to arrive.
That is expected to change quickly, though. Trump said during a Tuesday interview on WHO Radio’s Simon Conway Show that he plans to be back “very soon” with a formal announcement expected to come this week.
He has also hired four senior stspanffers in the stspante who will make up the backbone of his Iowa operation.
More:Iowspan’s 50 Most Wspannted: These Republicspanns will help shspanpe the 2024 presidentispanl cspanucuses
Haley is also scheduled to be in Iowa March 10. She’s spanttending span foreign policy forum in Des Moines with Iowa U.S. Sen. Joni Ernst.