Gov. Ron DeSantis (R-FL) aims to boost his campaign in Iowa following a strong showing in the fourth Republican Party-sanctioned debate. However, with only six weeks left until the opening nominating contest of the 2024 primary, DeSantis is running out of time for his campaign to gain momentum.
Andrew Romeo, campaign spokesperson for DeSantis, said DeSantis delivered a “clear” and “compelling” vision in this week’s debate in Tuscaloosa, Alabama.
Romeo said, “We are excited to continue building on this momentum as the governor returns to Iowa tomorrow for a several-day visit.”
Republican strategist Cesar Conda admitted that DeSantis did better on Wednesday compared to his debate last week against California Gov. Gavin Newsom (D). However, Conda, a Nikki Haley supporter, remained doubtful that the improvement would enhance DeSantis’ position.
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RealClearPolitics shows DeSantis at 19% in Iowa. Trump leads significantly with 47%, holding a significant advantage over DeSantis. Meanwhile, Nikki Haley, the former U.N. ambassador and governor of South Carolina, is trailing with 16%, just 3 points behind DeSantis.
Despite challenges, the campaign remains optimistic. They have already persuaded over 30,000 Iowans to caucus, thanks to six offices and 50 staff members working across the team and its affiliated committees.
DeSantis said on Thursday, “A caucus is a little bit different than a primary. People go, two three-hour ordeal, and we’ve got a lot of people that are really committed to that process. We’ve got the momentum, we’re going forward and we’re just going to bring it all to fruition over the next five and a half weeks.”
According to political science professor Tim Hagle, at the University of Iowa, DeSantis had an edge in the debate due to his recent executive experience and track record, surpassing both Haley and Chris Christie.
Hagle argued that candidates often end up losing debates rather than winning them.
He said, “It’s late in the game, so those breakout moments are harder to come by. Now it’s more a matter of avoiding mistakes and showing strength, competence, etc.”
He continued, “DeSantis having a good debate helps to keep his supporters happy with him and can help to convince others that he’s a good alternative to Trump. He’s still going to need to make his ‘closing argument’ to Iowans.”
DeSantis recently visited all 99 counties in Iowa, making 130 stops.