Iowa Race Nears Cold Conclusion

DeSantis, Haley press on, while Trump cancels in-person events
By Newser Editors and Wire Services
Posted Jan 13, 2024 4:45 PM CST
Iowa Race Nears Cold Conclusion
Ron DeSantis, second right, speaks with media as Rep. Chip Roy, R-Texas, third right, and Iowa Gov. Kim Reynolds, right, look on at an event in Council Bluffs on Saturday.   (AP Photo/Adriana Gomez Licon)

Ron DeSantis and Nikki Haley pushed across ice-cold Iowa on Saturday to find voters open to an alternative to Donald Trump with just two days before the state's caucuses open the Republican primary calendar. Trump canceled his two in-person rallies Saturday due to a blizzard blanketing much of the state, scheduling two virtual rallies instead. That left DeSantis and Haley, the two strongest candidates of the other Republicans competing in Iowa, with the chance to meet voters in person at several sites. Both were planning to finish the day with events in the Mississippi River town of Davenport, the AP reports.

At his first stop in Council Bluffs, DeSantis stressed the importance of their upcoming decisions. "You're going to pack so much more punch on Monday night than in any other election you'll ever be able to participate in," the Florida governor told about 60 people. Michael Durham, a former Trump supporter, said he plans to caucus for the Florida governor. "He's just kind of no nonsense," said Durham, a 47-year-old from Council Bluffs who praised DeSantis for opening Florida schools during the COVID-19 pandemic.
Other Iowans showed why DeSantis and Haley, the former UN ambassador and South Carolina governor, still have work to do in their respective final pushes.

Courtney Raines, a special education teacher, went to hear Haley on Saturday morning in Cedar Rapids and said she would try to see DeSantis later in the day. "I'd like to know how she's going to handle the border crisis and mitigate the racial divide," said Raines, who said she was adopted from South Korea at age 2 and is concerned about the divisiveness she perceives among Americans today. Haley told Raines and other potential caucus attendees in Cedar Falls that they have a chance to "make history" and "right the ship in America," per the AP. After days of storm conditions, Monday's weather is expected to be the coldest for any caucus day in history, with temperatures falling below zero.

(More Iowa caucuses stories.)

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