Former President Trump takes another step towards a 2024 run with a rally on Saturday in Iowa, sending a signal to his GOP rivals that he retains a strong grip on a vital state in the nominating calendar.
He will arrive at the Iowa County Fairgrounds in Des Moines following his best ever polling numbers in the state.
The latest Des Moines Register/Mediacom Iowa Poll shows 53 percent of Iowans have a favourable viewing of the former president.
Sam Nunberg, the property magnate’s first political hire in 2011 when he began thinking about a possible run, said Iowa was crucial to Trump’s victory in 2016, when he became the first Republican to win the state since George W. Bush in 2004.
‘I think he is going to run but even if he doesn’t it’s important for Trump to keep a strong presence in that state because in the Iowa caucus you can organize to victory,’ he said.
‘And if he doesn’t preempt the other people, they may see a path.’
Former President Trump brings his campaign-style rallies to Des Moines, Iowa, on Saturday where his good poll numbers put him in prime position in the early caucusing state
Des Moines will be Trump’s sixth rally since leaving office. They come with all the features of a campaign rally, even though Trump has yet to announce whether he will run in 2024
His possible rivals know it too.
Former Vice President Mike Pence visited in July and will return next month to speak at an event hosted by the Young American Foundation.
Trump’s Secretary of State Pompeo is another frequent visitor.
‘My wife Susan was born in Iowa City, but she was raised in Wichita. She spent her summers at Coralville and Strawberry Point,’ he said in July at the Family Leadership Summit, according to the Des Moines Register.
‘So that’s why I’m back, I don’t know why some of these other folks coming back now. I can’t figure it out.”
And former U.N. Ambassador Nikki Haley headlined an event for the Republican Party of Iowa in June.
Trump aides say he plans to make a decision on running after next year’s midterms. But he reportedly came close in recent days to abandoning that timetable and announcing officially in order to campaign openly.
Even so Trump has begun organizing in Iowa, which he won by more than eight percentage points in November.
In August, he hired two political consultants in Iowa to bolster his Save America political-action committee.
At the same time, Trump’s approval has risen in the state and President Biden’s has plunged.
The current president’s approval rating is at just 31 percent in Iowa – lower than Trump’s worst ever standing – according to a Des Moines Register/Mediacom Iowa poll, with 62 percent of adults disapproving of the job he’s doing.
‘By coincidence Biden’s numbers are terrible in the state. Horrendous, said Nunberg.
‘So this is really a perfect opportunity to stick it to Biden and also remind those 2024 potential GOP prospects that Trump still holds the crown, sits on the throne and, no matter, what everything runs through him.’
Sen. Chuck Grassley will speak at the rally before Trump as he bids to win an eighth term in next year’s midterms
Trump’s rating among Republicans at 91 percent is better even than Chuck Grassley, the 88-year-old seven-term senator.
‘I did not foresee the day when Donald Trump would be 10 points more popular with Iowa Republicans than the venerable Chuck Grassley,’ pollster J. Ann Selzer, told the Des Moines Register.
Grassley is on the roster of speakers at Saturday’s rally, leading to speculation that Trump will offer his endorsement as the senator bids for an eighth term in 2022.
The two are friendly, having apparently patched up their differences after Grassley, in the aftermath of the attack on the U.S. Capitol, criticized Trump’s words and actions on Jan. 6.
Several other Republican officials facing reelection next year are due to speak, including Gov. Kim Reynolds, and Reps. Ashley Hinson and Mariannette Miller-Meeks.
Jeff Kaufmann, chairman of the Republican Party of Iowa, said Trump was focused on the midterms when they spoke in August.
‘He never brought up him running for the presidency,’ he told the Wall Street Journal.
‘He very clearly understands that potentially the road to the majority in the federal House of Representatives goes through Iowa and he wants to definitely be a part of that.’