Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis was back on friendlier turf Thursday, a day after the fourth Republican presidential primary debate.
DeSantis told Newsmax from Cedar Rapids, Iowa, that after his performance in Wednesday night's debate, and in his debate last week with Democrat California Gov. Gavin Newsom, that his base in the Hawkeye State is expanding with the caucuses that kick off the 2024 primary season just 39 days away.
"We're feeling really good," DeSantis told "American Agenda." "We had a great debate last night. I think we were able to show that I was the conservative on that stage, and I'm the conservative leader that can bring change to Washington. And we got great feedback not only from that, but from our Gavin Newsom debate.
"We have tens of thousands of people that have already committed to caucus for us, and we're adding more every day. We've been to all 99 counties [in Iowa and] we have organization in all those counties. A caucus is a little bit different than a primary, and we've got a lot of people that are really committed to that process."
DeSantis has been endorsed by Iowa Gov. Kim Reynolds and recently was endorsed by Bob Vander Plaats, an influential evangelical Christian leader in the state.
"We've got the momentum, we're going forward, and we're just going to bring it all to fruition over the next five and a half weeks," DeSantis said.
By endorsing DeSantis, Vander Plaats is putting his streak of backing the winning GOP candidate in the last three contested Iowa caucuses in jeopardy because former President Donald Trump leads DeSantis by 26.8 percentage points in the RealClearPolitics polling average for Iowa. Trump also is far ahead in the field average polling nationally. But as DeSantis stressed during the debate Wednesday night, the polls are not always right.
"How ridiculous is it that we act like somebody has won before there's even voting," DeSantis said. "That's just not the way it works. We've got a massive primary season. There's a lot of delegates at stake. There's a lot of twists and turns with these things. … Now, all of a sudden, we're supposed to just fold in and not even allow people to vote because people are doing these polls.
"So, let's let people vote. I can tell you there's a lot of people on the ground [in Iowa] that are taking offense [to] the fact that people are saying they shouldn't have their voice heard.
"They should have their voice heard, and I think you're going to continue to see that sentiment. On caucus night, I think a lot of people are going to be very surprised because they've been fed a narrative," he said.
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Michael Katz ✉
Michael Katz is a Newsmax reporter with more than 30 years of experience reporting and editing on news, culture, and politics.
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