DES MOINES, IOWA — With anticipation building for a presidential campaign launch, Ron and Casey DeSantis were in Iowa on Saturday. A tour bus encouraging supporters to “Join Team DeSantis for President” followed close behind.
At the Feenstra Family Picnic – a fundraiser of like-minded conservatives in Northwest Iowa hosted by U.S. Rep. Randy Feenstra – DeSantis manned the grill flipping burgers before delivering a speech touting his accomplishments in Florida.
“Governing is not about entertaining. Governing is not about building a brand or talking on social media and virtue signaling,” DeSantis said. “It’s ultimately about winning and producing results.”
In Sioux Center, DeSantis emphasized his reputation as a conservative governor willing to push hard for conservative causes – even taking on a fight with Disney, the largest media and entertainment company in the world.
DeSantis focused on the GOP’s recent string of electoral losses, reminding conservatives that the Republican Party has struggled in every national election since 2016.
“We must reject the culture of losing that has impacted our party in recent years. The time for excuses is over,” DeSantis proclaimed. “If we get distracted, if we focus the election on the past or on other side issues, then I think the Democrats are going to beat us again.”
AN IMPROMPTU STOP
Later in the day, DeSantis greeted guests and made an appearance at a fundraiser with state Republican Party chairman Jeff Kaufmann in Cedar Rapids. DeSantis has helped raise more than $4.3 million for state and local GOP organizations since March.
But after Donald Trump canceled his rally in Des Moines, DeSantis and his wife Casey added an impromptu stop at a BBQ restaurant just down the street from where Trump was scheduled to appear. As busloads of people gathered, the pair shook dozens of hands and posed for photos, later standing on top of a table to address the crowd.
A HAWKEYE STATE ENDORSEMENT
In an op-ed on Sunday in the Des Moines Register, Iowa State Senate President Amy Sinclair and House Speaker Matt Windschitl endorsed DeSantis for president, writing that throughout their political careers, they have stood for conservative values and policies in Iowa.
“[W]e’re thrilled to announce our endorsement of Gov. Ron DeSantis for president of the United States,” the pair wrote. “Simply put, he’s proven himself a shining example of conservative leadership, and he has accomplished an ambitious agenda that’s propelled his state forward.”
The pro-DeSantis super PAC Never Back Down also announced 35 additional endorsements from Republicans in the Iowa House and Senate on Friday – even before DeSantis arrived in the Hawkeye State. Never Back Down Communications Director Erin Perrine posted photos and videos on Twitter of DeSantis chatting with Iowans and laughing with the crowd.
“The support in Iowa for Governor Ron DeSantis to jump in the race and be our next President is overflowing – as shown by this historic list, which is the largest number of endorsements from Iowa legislators at this stage of a GOP primary in modern memory,” Perrine said in a statement.