Florida Governor Ron DeSantis — expected to announce soon that he’s running for president — is urging Iowa Republicans not to be distracted by the past. During a speech in Sioux Center, DeSantis did not mention former President Trump by name, but he told the crowd Republicans must offer a “positive alternative” to President Biden in 2024.
DeSantis accused Democrats of trying to make conservatives second class citizens and he touted the bills he and Iowa Governor Kim Reynolds have signed into law, including a six-week abortion ban and removing books from schools that contain graphic passages or images about sex.
DeSantis, who won his 2022 campaign for governor of Florida by 20 points, referred to Republican victories in Iowa last year as well.
DeSantis was the keynote speaker at Congressman Randy Feenstra’s annual fundraiser that has featured former Vice President Mike Pence and former United Nations Ambassador Nikki Haley in the past. Feenstra told the crowd of about 600 that the governors of Iowa and Florida have exhibited the kind of leadership that’s needed for the rest of the country.
Feenstra has not endorsed a presidential candidate, but a political action committee allied with DeSantis announced 37 Republicans serving in the Iowa House and Senate have endorsed DeSantis. The Trump campaign announced Saturday it has endorsements from 19 Republican legislators, along with former Congressman Rod Blum of Dubuque and grassroots supporters in each of Iowa’s 99 counties. Trump had planned to speak at a rally Saturday night in Des Moines, the outdoor event was cancelled due to a tornado watch issued by the National Weather Service.