Trump, DeSantis, and Other GOP Contenders for 2024 Seek Limelight at Iowa-Iowa State Football Game

Donald Trump will attend Iowa’s in-state college football grudge match, crossing paths with several Republican rivals. This is one of the former president’s few visits to the state that holds the first nominating caucus.

Trump will be present at Jack Trice Stadium in Ames, where Iowa State University will host the University of Iowa. Also attending the game are Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis and several lesser-known candidates.

As the race enters its traditional ramp-up after Labor Day, the former president has mostly skipped holding town halls or participating in many of the state’s cherished campaign traditions. However, he remains far ahead of DeSantis and other rivals in Iowa and nationally.

Trump often visits Iowa on the same day as DeSantis, whom he considers his main threat. Both men are expected to be in and around the stadium before kickoff, reminiscent of last month’s scene at the Iowa State Fair in Des Moines.

DeSantis has been focusing on winning or placing high in Iowa and has already visited over half of the state’s 99 counties. In contrast, Trump has only made five visits to Iowa this year.

Trump is expected to attend the game and not a local county GOP’s tailgate party in nearby Nevada, Iowa. Instead of large-scale rallies, he relies on state party events, while his political organization faces legal expenses as he faces four criminal indictments.

Trump’s campaign has also utilized digital outreach, including a conference call with tens of thousands of Iowans. He has also done some in-person events with voters.

While there is no comparable example in Iowa political history to a former president running under indictment for more than 90 felony counts, other high-profile candidates have engaged in town halls and retail campaigning in early primary states.

In 2007, then-Sen. Hillary Clinton sought smaller meetings with local activists before speaking to packed gyms and halls in Iowa. Ultimately, she lost the 2008 caucus to then-Sen. Barack Obama.

Trump has only attended one party event in Iowa this year: the Iowa Republican Party Lincoln Dinner in July.

Copyright 2023 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed without permission.

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