Trump Rivals Set Their Sights on Iowa With Caucuses One Month Away

Iowa voters will have plenty of opportunities to see a contender for the Republican Party’s nomination as the Jan. 15, 2024, caucus day nears.
Trump Rivals Set Their Sights on Iowa With Caucuses One Month Away
(L–R) Former South Carolina governor and U.N. ambassador Nikki Haley, Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis, entrepreneur Vivek Ramaswamy, and former New Jersey governor Chris Christie participate in the fourth Republican presidential primary debate at the University of Alabama in Tuscaloosa, Ala., on Dec. 6, 2023, in a combination photo. (Jim Watson, Justin Sullivan/AFP via Getty Images)
Austin Alonzo

With only one month left before the Republican Party’s crucial Iowa caucuses and five weeks until the first presidential primary in New Hampshire, every GOP candidate is on the campaign trail.

For now, the latest poll from Iowa shows former President Donald Trump is maintaining his firm lead.

On Dec. 14, Iowa State University and Civiqs released a new poll of 438 Iowans who said they will “definitely” or “probably” attend the Republican Party of Iowa’s caucuses on the evening of Jan. 15, 2024. The poll was held Dec. 8 through Dec. 13 and reports a margin of error of 6 percent.

The Iowa State poll said most respondents’ first choice was President Trump. According to the poll, 54 percent would list him as their top choice for the GOP nomination if they caucused that day.

Behind President Trump, 17 percent of likely Iowa caucusgoers prefer Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis, 15 percent would choose former U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations Nikki Haley, 7 percent would pick businessman Vivek Ramaswamy, and 4 percent would back former New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie.

The Iowa State poll was similar to the results of the highly regarded Selzer & Co. poll released on Dec. 11.

‘Running Out of Time’

In a release attached to the poll, Dave Peterson, Lucken Professor of Political Science at Iowa State, said “other candidates are running out of time” to catch President Trump.

“It doesn’t look like there’s a lot of potential for Iowans to change their mind going into January,” Mr. Peterson said in the news release.

To the contrary, in an interview with The Epoch Times, Tim Hagle, associate professor in the Department of Political Science at the University of Iowa, said things can and do change before the caucus night. Mr. Hagle, who has published two books on the caucuses, said the results will depend on which candidates’ supporters are willing to show up and stand up for their pick on the caucus night.

“We always say that there’s a lot of movement, or can be a lot of movement, right before the caucuses,” Mr. Hagle said.

Shortly after the Iowa contest, voters in three states will head to the primary polls. New Hampshire’s primary will be held on Jan. 23. After that, a GOP primary will be held in Nevada on Feb. 8 and in South Carolina on Feb. 24.

In New Hampshire, the latest polling indicates a somewhat tighter race. President Trump holds a serious advantage, but the other candidates are closer.

A poll from the Trafalgar Group published on Dec. 12 indicates 45.1 percent of likely participants in the New Hampshire presidential primary would vote for President Trump. Their second choice would be Ms. Haley, with 18.1 percent support, followed by Mr. Christie, Mr. DeSantis, and Mr. Ramaswamy. The Trafalgar poll included 1,098 respondents and carries a 2.9 percent margin of error.

Donald Trump

President Trump will visit three states over four days starting on Saturday.

On Dec. 16, he is planning on making a stop in Durham, New Hampshire. On Dec. 17, he'll be in Reno, Nevada. And on Dec. 19, he should return to the Midwest with a stop in Waterloo, Iowa. President Trump appeared in Coralville, Iowa, on Dec. 13.

To expand his reach, the Trump campaign is enlisting surrogates to appear in Iowa, too.

Guests attend a rally with Republican presidential candidate former President Donald Trump at the Hyatt Hotel in Coralville, Iowa, on Dec. 13, 2023. (Scott Olson/Getty Images)
Guests attend a rally with Republican presidential candidate former President Donald Trump at the Hyatt Hotel in Coralville, Iowa, on Dec. 13, 2023. (Scott Olson/Getty Images)
Rep. Matt Gaetz (R-Fla.) is slated to appear in Cedar Rapids, Iowa, on Dec. 15. Rep. Wesley Hunt (R-Texas) and former Rep. Lee Zeldin (R-N.Y.) are expected in Waukee, Iowa, on Dec. 17. Former Secretary of Housing and Urban Development Dr. Ben Carson, a Republican, is scheduled to speak in Sioux City and Council Bluffs, Iowa, on Dec. 19.

Nikki Haley

Ms. Haley plans on spending a week in Iowa with a series of town halls starting on Dec. 17. The candidate, who is battling with Mr. DeSantis for the position as the leading alternative to President Trump, is set to appear in Altoona, Iowa, first.
On Dec. 18, she should stop in the cities of Nevada, Carroll, and Treynor. On Dec. 19, she‘ll be in Atlantic, Osceola, and Agency. On Dec. 20, she’ll be in Burlington and Davenport. The swing is anticipated to end on Dec. 21 in Anamosa.

Ron DeSantis

Mr. DeSantis, who has spoken with Iowans in all of its 99 counties, is drawing up a cross-country campaign in the following weeks.

Mr. DeSantis or his wife, Casey DeSantis, will appear in either Iowa or New Hampshire every day between Dec. 15 and Dec. 21.

With his campaign or his super political action committee Never Back Down Inc., Mr. DeSantis is scheduled to hold an event in Temple and Windham, New Hampshire, on Dec. 15. Mrs. DeSantis, for her part, is planning on appearing in Cherokee, Ida Grove, Les Mars, and Sioux City, Iowa, on Dec. 15.

Mr. DeSantis will likely return to Iowa on Dec. 16. Then he is expected to hit Fort Dodge and Johnston. On Dec. 17, he should stop in Oskaloosa. On Dec. 18, he'll be in Bettendorf, and on Dec. 20, Urbandale. The trip is scheduled to wrap up on Dec. 21 with an event in Coralville and Ainsworth.

Iowa Gov. Kim Reynolds, a Republican, is set to campaign with Mr. DeSantis again on Dec. 29 in Elkader, Iowa.

Vivek Ramaswamy

After a full week, Mr. Ramaswamy is planning on making at least 30 stops in Iowa between Dec. 15 and Dec. 22. His wife, Apoorva Ramaswamy, will hold an event on Dec. 16. in Waukee, Iowa.
The itinerary for Mr. Ramaswamy’s packed trip to Iowa includes stops in Aliba and Sigourney on Dec. 15; Chariton, Corydon, Centerville, Bloomfield, and Keosauqua on Dec. 16; Webster City, Fort Dodge, Humboldt, Algon, Forest City, Garner, and Mason City on Dec. 19; Cedar Falls, Grundy Center, Allison, Hampton, Iowa Falls, and Marshalltown on Dec. 20; Pella, Keota, Washington, Fairfield, Mount Pleasant, Columbus Junction, Walcott, and Davenport on Dec. 21; and—wrapping it up—Winterset, Leon, Mount Ayr, Creston, and Corning on Dec. 22.

Chris Christie

Continuing his focus on New Hampshire, the Christie campaign is planning two events next week. His super PAC, Tell It Like It Is PAC, will host an event on Dec. 19 in Bedford, New Hampshire, followed by one in Portsmouth, New Hampshire, on Dec. 20.
Austin Alonzo covers U.S. political and national news for The Epoch Times. He has covered local, business and agricultural news in Kansas City, Missouri, since 2012. He is a graduate of the University of Missouri. You can reach Austin via email at [email protected]
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