State Republicans say they approached Trump to come a month ago and the visit was triggered after a Des Moines Register Poll showed Grassley with a narrow lead over Democrat Mike Franken. State GOP Chairman Jeff Kaufmann told POLITICO there is a perennial concern that western parts of the state, which include Sioux City, are being overlooked in favor of the east. He added that the attorney general’s race is a potential rebound for Republicans, making it all the more imperative that Trump come in to boost turnout.
But while Kaufmann said Trump was invited, a spokesperson for Grassley said the senator himself had not asked the former president to come. And the person disputed the idea that the Des Moines Register poll required his visit.
“President Trump has been holding rallies for endorsed candidates across the country for months. You should ask President Trump why he came to Iowa,” Grassley’s spokesperson said.
The Iowa shutdown is the latest in a hard-to-define campaign closeout for Trump. He is spending the last week of the midterm season speaking at rallies in battleground states like Ohio and Pennsylvania. But he also holds rallies in states like ruby-red Florida, and he recently traveled to South Texas, an area of the state targeted by the GOP and where his looks can help drive support away.
“President Trump’s rallies extend far beyond the borders of any specific state – they get national coverage and voters across the country tune in. This latest push is key to propelling every Trump-endorsed candidate to victory on Tuesday,” Trump spokesman Taylor Budowich said. .
Some Republicans are eager for his support. Sen. blonde frame, for example, has personally invited Trump to a rally in Florida, during which he will stop in Miami-Dade County, an area expected to have a strong Republican presence. But he notably does not plan additional rallies in states like Nevada, Arizona or Georgia – at least for now.
“You have campaigns that are going well on their own and going in the right direction and the idea is not to do anything to disrupt that dynamic,” said David Kochel, a veteran GOP strategist based in Iowa. , which cited Virginia Gov. Glenn Youngkin’s hands-off approach to Trump at the end of his campaign.
Trump remains the most powerful figure in the Republican Party and will similarly emerge after the midterms. But Tuesday’s election could have an impact on his position.
The ex-president made his first endorsement of this political cycle in 2021. Since then, he has picked his favorites in the races – sometimes sparking intense rivalries between candidates to win his affection and causing heartburn from the GOP when he passed a preferred candidate in favor of someone more “MAGA”. If these candidates emerge victorious, the ex-president will perform a customary lap of honor. If they fail, the blame could be directed in his direction.
“People are going to vote like a repudiation of Joe Biden and I think the Republican candidates up and down the ballot are going to do exceptionally well whether or not President Trump is for them – it doesn’t matter,” he said. said Dave Bossie, President. of Citizens United. “The American people are focused on Joe Biden. That’s what this election is about. »
For many Republicans, the latter part of Trump’s campaign was ideal. With visits to safe red states like Iowa and Florida, he’s thought to be able to rally his base but not scare off independents or suburban women Republicans need to win over in southern states. battlefield. Midway through, he also hosted TV rallies, paid for TV ads, and supported fundraisers and rallies.
There was also relief that Trump had not decided to announce a 2024 presidential election before the midterms. While half of his advisers wanted him to announce before Nov. 8 as a way to clear the ground and hopefully take credit for any Republican victory, top party leaders warned that announcing before mid-terms would only make him the main scapegoat for any loss.
Regardless of Tuesday’s outcome, major sticking points remain between Trump and other factions of the Republican Party. He will almost certainly face competition for the party’s presidential nominee, including from people who have worked in his administration.
Already, the limits of this breed are being worked out. This month, potential candidates for 2024, including former Vice President Mike Pence, former Secretary of State Mike Pompeo and former US Ambassador to the United Nations Nikki Haley, will attend the conference of the Republican Jewish Coalition in Las Vegas. with one exception – Trump.
Kaufmann, the leader of the Iowa state Republican Party, said he suspected Trump would not be able to clear the ground. “With that caveat, I spoke to almost all of these national figures as they came forward and I can honestly tell you that none said they would be out if Trump walks in,” did he declare. “They kept their cards very close.”
Trump also continues to wage war on some current Republican leaders. On John Fredericks Thursday morning show, he called for the Senate Minority Leader to be ousted Mitch McConnell on whether he capitulates on the debt ceiling fights with the Biden administration and attacks the Kentucky Republican for not giving more money to help candidates who have fallen behind in the polls.
“If he gave that money to Don, Blake Masters and others you mentioned, they would win. This guy doesn’t deserve to continue to be the leader and I hope someone challenges him,” Trump said on the show. “If I race and win, he won’t be the leader. That’s the only thing I can guarantee you, he won’t be the leader.
Trump’s Make America Great Again, Inc. super PAC has faced its own criticism from Republicans for being a spendthrift this cycle. Overall, he spent more than $16 million on ads to boost Trump-endorsed candidates in battlefield races, cutting ads for Kari Lake and Blake Masters in Arizona, Adam Laxalt in Nevada, Herschel Walker in Georgia, JD Vance in Ohio, Tudor Dixon in Michigan and Mehmet Oz in Pennsylvania. The ads, notably, did not focus on Trump or Trump support, but instead featured Republican talking points on Biden, crime, inflation, border security and culture wars.
Advisers say Trump’s latest midterm swing offers a chance to expand on those same points. And in Iowa, his presence alongside other presidential candidates is welcome to help midterm voter turnout, even though the opening is 2024.
“What I see about Trump’s visit, he’s going to have a big rally and a lot of people who really love him and what he’s done as president and see the difference between his administration and Biden’s “said Bob Vander Plaats, one of the state’s top conservative leaders. “But there are still those attending the rally who say he shouldn’t be racing in 2024 as thanks, but let’s move on with someone new to win in 2024. I hear that a lot from deeply believing supporters of Trump.”