WASHINGTON (TND) — It's the "unofficial" kickoff to the presidential race in Iowa.
The caucuses are still far off but Republican presidential candidates and hopefuls are making their way to the home of the first critical votes for the White House.
It’s always a sign a politician is eyeing the presidency: good old fashion stumping and literally selling oneself to the first GOP voters in the nation.
It's something voters saw Friday in Davenport, from Gov. Ron DeSantis, R-Florida.
I’m proud to say this is the number one bestselling nonfiction book in America,” DeSantis boasted while holding up his newly released book.
“A lot of people are annoyed by this,” he added.
Washington Post sources reported DeSantis privately said he’s ready to run. The Wall Street Journal called it definite, which happens to coincide with a real erosion of Iowa Republicans, who "were" all in on former President Trump Donald but are now rethinking their support.
In June 2021, 69% of those Republicans polled by the Des Moines Register/Mediacom Iowa Poll said they’d definitely vote for Trump in the 2024 general election. That’s 22 percentage points more than those who say the same today.
That’s providing another not-so-subtle opening, for a push even from former Trump staffers.
Gov DeSantis, today I’m asking you to run for president, you've had our back now we will have yours, it’s time for fresh conservative leadership,” implored Ken Cuccinelli, a former Homeland Security official under Trump in a new web ad.
Even though DeSantis has not declared yet, some democrats are already taking aim at his national image and laying some early groundwork, just in case.
“But now, he [Biden] is battling extremists with a different agenda: MAGA Republicans who oppose these common sense investments. It is true, they opposed lowering insulin costs for 80,000 Pennsylvanians,” a new ad by an activist group proclaims while showing pictures of DeSantis alongside other GOP hopefuls.
Also, in Iowa and trying to keep DeSantis at bay is candidate Nikki Haley, another former Trump loyalist.
The headliner of course, though, will be Trump himself when he arrives in Iowa on Monday, making more promises like this one he gave during CPAC this past weekend.
As I did for four incredible years, I will put America first every single time, every single day,” Trump vowed.
All of this could pose a real dilemma for voters.
Kelley Koch, who is the chair of the Dallas County Republicans, worried aloud to CNN.
“We don't want two strong candidates to shred each other and duke it out in the boxing ring and see the best man standing,” Koch said.