Trump absent as Iowa 2024 Republican caucus trains start rolling

CEDAR RAPIDS, Iowa (AP) — Nikki Haley Driving through Iowa this week after just announcing her presidential campaign. Her fellow South Carolina Republican, Sen. Tim Scott, is also here when he decides his political future.and former vice president Mike Pence I was in a state that was courting an influential evangelical Christian activist.

After a slow start, prospects for a Republican president are streaming into leadoff caucus states.Notably missing from the line-up, at least for now, is a former president donald trump.

Few White House hopefuls face high expectations. Iowa what Trump does.He finished in a competitive second place behind devout social conservatives Ted Cruz As the Republican nominee for president in the 2016 and 2020 elections, he won the state twice by a healthy margin.

“It’s really impossible for this guy to try to manage those expectations. rice field. Mitt Romney Campaign for the 2012 Iowa caucuses. “I don’t understand how someone who says ‘I am that guy’ can even come in and finish second.”

But three months after he announced his bid to make a comeback, Trump hasn’t set foot in Iowa.

Indeed, Trump is campaigning in Iowa.State-based Alex Latcham, who is part of Trump’s varsity team, is working to secure a campaign director for the caucuses. kick off rally Held in South Carolina on January 28, a major win in 2016 cemented him as the Republican frontrunner. And earlier that day, he barged in to speak at the annual Republican convention in New Hampshire, and also won the nation’s first primary seven years ago.

Although the caucus remains off for nearly a year, it remains the first event on the calendar, with some Iowa GOP activists noting Trump’s absence.

Polk County Republican Party Chairman Gloria Maza said Trump’s New Hampshire-South Carolina ceasefire “was very interesting.” She said, “Iowa is the best state in the country, so shouldn’t people come here first?”

Meanwhile, others are breaking in.

Pence hasn’t yet run for office, but his advocacy group, Advancing American Values, launched a campaign last week against school policies like those in Eastern Iowa, a hotspot among conservatives. Started a campaign to organize.

pence was in cedar rapids On Wednesday, it will rally opponents of a policy by the nearby Limmer Community School District at issue in a federal lawsuit. We have enacted measures that allow you to request a gender assistance plan to initiate the transition.

The issue has been an early focus of the 2024 Republican presidential outlook and has been a point of contention, especially among Christian conservatives. And at Wednesday’s event at a pizza restaurant — which had the feel of an early caucus campaign stop — Pence explained that his traction.

“We’re not parenting with the government,” Pence said before a cheering audience of more than 100.

Haley is planning rallies in the Des Moines and Cedar Rapids areas on Monday and Tuesday. Scott, meanwhile, is speaking at an event at Drake University on Wednesday, intended to inform his plans before addressing the Polk County Republican Party’s annual fundraiser outside Des Moines that evening. It is part of a national listening tour that was held.

The former governor of Arkansas is quietly making inroads. Asa HutchinsonHe visited Iowa in January and last week met with legislative Republicans at the Capitol in Des Moines and with Republican activists in western Iowa.

Several candidates, including Trump, campaigned for the midterms in Iowa last year, but these first impressions, the first of the Republican presidential primary, are important. This is especially true as we are waiting to see what will happen. Ron DeSantis Advance the White House bid.

But as the field of candidates expands in the coming months, Trump remains a core of Republican support that will be tough to overcome.

According to the Des Moines Register/Mediacom Iowa Poll, in October, 57% of Iowa Republicans said they hoped Trump would decide to run in 2024.

“Of course there are contingents who support him,” said Steve Scheffler, the Republican National Commissioner for Iowa.