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The Daily Iowan

The independent newspaper of the University of Iowa community since 1868

The Daily Iowan

The independent newspaper of the University of Iowa community since 1868

The Daily Iowan

Reynolds endorses DeSantis at Des Moines rally

Rebuffing neutrality, Iowa Gov. Kim Reynolds endorsed DeSantis ahead of the third GOP debate in Miami.
Cody Blissett
Iowa Gov. Kim Reynolds and Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis say goodbye during “The Freedom Blueprint” a Republican hosted event in Davenport, Iowa on Friday, March 10, 2023. Reynolds and DeSantis received a standing ovation.

Iowa Gov. Kim Reynolds stood at a “DeSantis for President” podium on Monday and announced her endorsement of his bid for president.

Going back on her previous neutrality on the Iowa caucuses, Reynolds officially endorsed Florida Gov. and GOP presidential hopeful Ron DeSantis at a Monday night rally in Des Moines.

“If we don’t get this next election right, if we don’t choose right, we aren’t going to get this election back,” Reynolds said. “That leader is Ron DeSantis.”

Reynolds’ endorsement on Monday comes after she previously said she would remain neutral in the Iowa caucuses in an interview with The Des Moines Register in February 2023

Iowa governors typically stay out of the caucuses, waiting until after the first-in-the-nation caucuses to endorse a candidate for the presidency.

However, the rule is not hard and fast. Iowa Gov. Terry Branstad, Reynolds’ predecessor, told Iowans to caucus for anyone but Ted Cruz in 2016.

At an Oct. 25 news conference, Reynolds opened the possibility of saying this election “is too important” to stay neutral.

Alina Waggoner, of Des Moines, said she thought Reynolds’ endorsement would bring DeSantis die-hard supporters of Reynolds into the fold.

Reynolds previously received criticism from Former President Donald Trump for remaining neutral in the race. In July, Trump attacked Reynolds for her neutrality in a post on Truth Social.

Ahead of Monday night’s rally, Trump reiterated his previous grievances about Reynolds’ loyalty after The Des Moines Register broke the news that Reynolds would endorse DeSantis Monday night. 

“Despite all of this, Reynolds remained Neutral on Endorsements, and she is now America’s most Unpopular Governor, and Ron [DeSantis] is Second,”  Trump said in a post on Monday morning. “That’s what happens when you are disloyal to those that got you there!”

Reynolds: Trump can’t Win

In an interview with NBC News and the Des Moines Register ahead of the Monday night rally, Reynolds said she threw her support behind DeSantis because she thought that Trump won’t be able to win the election.

“Yeah, I believe he can’t win,” Reynolds said. “ And I believe Ron [DeSantis] can.”

Reynolds said she choose to break with tradition for the good of the country. Reynolds said the state of the border, the economy, and our world standing swayed her decision to endorse DeSantis.

“I just felt like I couldn’t sit on the sidelines any longer,” Reynolds said. “We have too much at stake. I truly believe that he is the right person to get this country back on track.”

In a New York Times and Siena College Poll released on Monday, Trump narrowly led Biden among swing state voters by 1 percentage point.

During her speech Monday she emphasized the need for a strong candidate in the GOP field to beat out Joe Biden.

“Not only do we need to make sure that we elect someone who can win,” Reynolds said at the event. “We need a president who has the skill and the resolve to reverse the madness that we see every single day.”

DeSantis has ground to gain 

DeSantis is tied second with former U.N. Ambassador Nikki Haley, in the race, according to the most recent Des Moines Register/NBC News/Mediacom Iowa Poll results

The results show Trump holding a strong, authoritative lead over Republicans in the state with 43 percent of the vote among respondents to the October Iowa Poll. DeSantis comes in 27 points behind Trump at 16 percent of the vote among respondents.

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About the Contributors
Liam Halawith
Liam Halawith, Politics Editor
Liam Halawith is a third-year student at the University of Iowa studying Journalism and Mass Communication and minoring in Public Policy. Before his role as Politics Editor Liam was a politics reporter for the DI. Outside of the DI Liam has interned at the Cedar Rapids Gazette and the Southeast Iowa Union. This is his second year working for the DI.
Cody Blissett
Cody Blissett, Visuals Editor
Cody Blissett is a visual editor at The Daily Iowan. He is a third year student at the University of Iowa studying cinema and screenwriting. This is his first year working for The Daily Iowan.