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DeSantis Goes Grassroots, Gains Traction with Iowa Voters

The Florida governor continues to barnstorm through all 99 counties in Iowa on a bus tour sponsored by super PAC Never Back Down.

DECORAH, IOWA — Ron DeSantis is putting in serious work in Iowa as he joins Never Back Down – the super PAC backing his presidential bid – on another bus tour this weekend.

Just shy of 9 am on Friday, voters in Decorah arrived at Toppling Goliath Brewing Company, famous for IPAs and barrel-aged stouts, to hear DeSantis speak about his plan to reverse the decline of America. The Republican presidential hopeful also seemed determined to make sure Iowans see his commitment to their state, as he tries to convince them that he’s a better option than Trump.


Ron DeSantis and his wife, Casey, will make multiple stops through Saturday on the super PAC’s tour bus in a grassroots effort to speak with more intimate crowds, engage with local press and earn consideration from voters. DeSantis says he’s not entitled to anything and will outwork his opponents.

“We’re gonna keep working,” DeSantis told reporters on his two-day bus tour last Friday. “I’m not a political prognosticator. All I’m saying is I’m gonna outwork everybody, and we are going to earn the support.”

On the campaign trail, DeSantis displays a consistent energy and drive – even when battered by questions about the viability of his candidacy. But will it be enough to convince voters in Iowa and other early-voting states to choose him over Trump?


DeSantis’ campaign says his Iowa-heavy schedule is critical to differentiating the governor from Trump, who passed on several events in the state and publicly ridiculed Governor Kim Reynolds last month. Trump also snubbed The Family Leader CEO, Bob Vander Plaats, when he skipped his influential family-focused event in July.

“Caucus goers wanna win,” the DeSantis campaign’s political director Sam Cooper said. “They’ve seen winning in Iowa with Kim Reynolds and her legislature there. They see winning in Florida with Gov. DeSantis. And they want to get there with family values that puts the country first.”

During DeSantis’ tour last weekend, Republican voters said they were just getting to know him and were open to hearing more.

“I think Trump is finished,” Richard Borg of Fairfield, Iowa, told CBS News. “I think he’s done. He’s just deluding himself now.” When asked why he attended DeSantis’ event, Borg said, “Just curiosity. I like being able to see and hear the candidates live. It’s an opportunity you get in Iowa that is very rare.”

Roger Gay, who attended a tour stop in Oskaloosa, said DeSantis did a “very fine job.” He told CBS News the country needs “someone younger” than Trump and “someone who’s going to be honest.”

So far, DeSantis has visited 17 counties in Iowa as he works toward appearing in all 99 counties. Today marks his fifth trip to the Hawkeye State since announcing his candidacy and his third trip within the last four weeks.