Republicans need a ‘positive alternative’ to Joe Biden

SOO SENTER — Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis, standing on the precipice of a likely presidential election, told Iowa on Saturday that if Republicans want to win in 2024, they will reject a “losing culture” and look to the future. “We need to have a positive vision,” he said.

“Both Florida and Iowa are showing strong leadership and can defeat the left in this country with bold policies,” he said. “But there is no substitute for winning. We must reject the losing culture that has pervaded our party in recent years. We have to show the strength to win.”

This is seen as leading the current 2024 presidential candidate as the front-runner despite losing to Democrat Joe Biden in the 2020 election and endorsing the candidate he lost in the 2022 midterm elections. It is an unspoken denunciation of former President Donald Trump.

The comments came as President Trump was planning to hold a duel event in the nation’s first caucus state. Mr. DeSantis was scheduled to make another stop in Cedar Rapids, and Mr. Trump was scheduled to attend an outdoor rally in Des Moines for the evening, but Mr. Trump canceled the event due to possible bad weather. A tornado warning was in place for Polk County, extending it until 7 p.m. when he was scheduled to speak.

DeSantis, who is expected to jump into the presidential race soon, did not discuss Trump by name. But he echoed calls from many Iowa Republicans to move forward rather than focus on his past grievances.

DeSantis said, “If we make the 2024 election a referendum on Joe Biden and his failures, and offer a positive alternative… Republicans will win across the board.” “If we don’t, if we distract ourselves or focus the election on the past or another issue, I think the Democrats will beat us again.”

DeSantis spoke at Rep. Randy Veenstra’s annual picnic fundraiser at the Sioux Center. The event was attended by Governor Kim Reynolds, Senator Joni Ernst, Rep. Marianette Miller-Meeks, Iowa Secretary of Agriculture Mike Naigua, Iowa Treasury Secretary Robbie Smith, Iowa Attorney General Brenner Bird, and a group of state legislators. .

He then flipped a pork burger with Feenstra and Reynolds and was posed for photos in front of a gathered press crowd.

He then stopped to join a small group of Sioux Center Pizza Ranch supporters and interested Republicans. Plates of fried chicken and pizza lay largely untouched as the crowd mingled with the governor, asking for selfies and autographs.

Appearing with his wife, Casey, DeSantis briefly told the audience his family was looking forward to the Iowa State Fair. He also praised Casey’s breakfast pizza, another Iowa favorite.

“These petrol stations are a big deal to us because we’re parked, they’re on the road,” DeSantis said. “…Let me tell you, I’m a very hard critic of gas stations. Casey’s is legit. That breakfast pizza is legit.”

This is the Florida governor’s second visit to Iowa, and he arrived with gear ready to help him run for president.

The Never Back Down PAC, a major outlay to organize an organization to back his candidacy, parked a branded bus outside the event and sold about Three dozen legislative approvals. They included members of the Headquarters Number 2 of each House. House Majority Leader Matt Windsitol and Senate Speaker Amy Sinclair.

Collectively, these endorsements represent a diverse segment of the Iowa Republican caucus, including not only far-right legislators, but also moderates, religious conservatives, leaders, and legislators. .

Among those who supported Mr. DeSantis was Rep. Steve Holt, a Republican from Denison who chairs the House Judiciary Committee.

“I love his military experience because I spent 20 years in the Marine Corps and I know what kind of leadership skills it creates in people,” he said Saturday at an event at the Sioux Center. Mr Holt said. “I love his accomplishments as governor of Florida. I loved what he did there. …I think ‘Never Back Down’ is a good campaign slogan for him.”

Holt said Mr. DeSantis called him days before he decided to endorse and they discussed the need to improve the U.S. military. Holt said he was one of a small group of people invited to fly on a private plane with DeSantis during Saturday’s events in Sioux Center and Cedar Rapids.

In addition to expressing its support, Never Back Down PAC Also employs Republican officials Who would support DeSantis’ candidacy in Iowa? They include Des Moines consultant Tyler Campbell and Ryan Koopmans, top adviser to Republican Gov. Kim Reynolds.

according to NBC News coverageDeSantis’ political activities will move to a new campaign headquarters in Florida, which will trigger federal disclosure requirements within 15 days.

DeSantis served three terms in the U.S. House of Representatives and was elected governor in 2018 by about 32,400 votes. He defied national trends in 2022, seeking re-election by a margin of about 1.5 million votes.

according to Des Moines Iowa Register PollDeSantis was viewed favorably by 74% of Iowa Republicans and viewed unfavorably by 6%. And he was 20% less sure.

Independents in Iowa were almost evenly split on Mr. DeSantis, with 35% viewing him favorably, 33% viewing him unfavorably, and 32% unsure.

DeSantis has emerged as an early frontrunner to challenge Trump in national polls.

according to Real Clear Politics National Preliminary Moving Average, Trump leads with 53.5% and DeSantis with 22.2%. No other declared or potential candidate breaks double digits.

Iowa Democratic Party Chairman Rita Hart criticized his appearance in a statement.

“It’s clear that MAGA Republicans are supporting the most extreme candidate in our nation’s history, whoever ends up as the Republican nominee,” she said. “I stand ready to defend liberties, strengthen democracy, and finish my work with President Joe Biden.”

Brianne Pfannenstiel is the Register’s chief political reporter. Please contact or 515-284-8244. Follow @brianneDMR on Twitter. Republicans need a ‘positive alternative’ to Joe Biden

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