Florida Republican Gov. Ron DeSantis is the latest in the 2024 GOP primary field to confirm attendance at Iowa Sen. Jodi Ernst's annual "Roast and Ride" event at the Iowa Fairgrounds in Des Moines on June 3.
Des Moines television station KCCI 8 reported Tuesday that DeSantis, who is running second to former President Donald Trump in the 2024 GOP field, confirmed he will attend the fundraiser for a veteran's charity.
While Trump has not yet said if he will attend, others in the field including former U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations Nikki Haley, businessman Vivek Ramaswamy, former Arkansas Gov. Asa Hutchinson, Sen. Tim Scott, R-S.C., former Vice President Mike Pence, and businessman Perry Johnson have said they will attend the annual event.
"I'm thrilled to welcome Ron DeSantis as a special guest to Roast and Ride this year!" Ernst told Des Moines CBS 2 Iowa on Tuesday. "Despite Democrats ditching Iowa, Republicans are fired up for 2024 as we host the first in the nation caucus. This year's Roast and Ride will be my biggest yet — with eight exciting special guests — making it the can't miss event of 2023!"
In his own statement, DeSantis told the news outlet he is looking forward to the event.
"I'm delighted to be joining Sen. Ernst in Des Moines," he wrote. "As military veterans, Joni and I both understand the importance of supporting those who have served our nation — and I'm excited to get the chance to do just that at the annual Roast and Ride.
"Over the past few months, Casey and I have had the pleasure of getting to know hard-working patriots across the great state of Iowa. Florida and Iowa have led the way in the fight for our way of life — and I'm running for president to take that fight to the White House. Our mission is simple: We are building a movement to restore America."
Proceeds from this year's event will go to the Freedom Foundation of Cedar Rapids, the report said.
According to the political polling site FiveThirtyEight, Trump is leading DeSantis by almost 34 percentage points (54.3%-20.7%), with Pence, Haley, Ramaswamy, Scott, and Hutchinson all polling between 1% to 6%.
DeSantis, who officially announced his candidacy last week, said he believes Iowa is an important state in the race and he received the endorsement of 37 of that state's legislators.
"We are competing everywhere. Iowa is very important," The Hill reported DeSantis saying Monday. "We've gotten an incredible amount of support. I got endorsed by 37 legislators there before I even announced my candidacy.
"We obviously have a lot in common with Iowa in terms of what Florida has done and what they've done under Gov. Kim Reynolds. And I think the groundswell of support has been really, really strong. We're going to press the case."
© 2023 Newsmax. All rights reserved.