POLITICS + GOVERNMENT

Iowa Gov. Kim Reynolds will endorse Ron DeSantis

Nov 5, 2023, 3:00 PM

Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis and Iowa Gov. Kim Reynolds are pictured here in Ames, Iowa, on September ...

Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis and Iowa Gov. Kim Reynolds are pictured here in Ames, Iowa, on September 9. Reynolds will endorse DeSantis in the 2024 Republican primary at a pre-debate rally in Des Moines, Iowa, on November 6. (Jeffrey Becker/USA Today)

(Jeffrey Becker/USA Today)

Originally Published: 05 NOV 23 10:25 ET
Updated: 05 NOV 23 12:34 ET

(CNN) — Iowa Gov. Kim Reynolds will endorse Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis in the 2024 Republican primary at a pre-debate rally in Des Moines, Iowa, on Monday night, sources familiar with the matter told CNN.

The DeSantis campaign is promoting Reynolds’ presence at the event on X, formerly known as Twitter.

Reynolds initially indicated she would likely remain neutral in the GOP primary race, but more recently has signaled willingness to back a candidate.

Reynolds will also join DeSantis on Tuesday for a meet-and-greet in Davenport, Iowa.

The Des Moines Register and NBC News were first to report the endorsement.

Reynolds’ popularity among Republican voters in Iowa could grant DeSantis a necessary boost if he hopes to compete against the far-and-away frontrunner in former President Donald Trump, with the Iowa caucuses – the kickoff to the Republican primary – now less than 100 days away.

Trump’s campaign said in a statement after Reynolds’ endorsement that the governor had “promised her constituents that she would remain neutral in the race, yet she has completely gone back on that promise. Regardless, her endorsement will not make any difference in this race.”

Polls from Iowa in October showed Trump ahead of DeSantis – the next-closest contender – by 30 points, with Trump supported by nearly half of likely Republican caucus-goers.

The DeSantis campaign’s hope is that a near-victory or outright win in Iowa will clear the field and reset the GOP primary as a two-person fight with Trump, which is why DeSantis is prioritizing Iowa over other early battlegrounds.

DeSantis’ campaign recently moved one-third of its Tallahassee campaign staff to Des Moines and the Florida governor has pledged to visit all 99 counties in the state. As of late last month, he had visited 83, he told CNN’s Kaitlan Collins.

“You shake the hands, you ask the questions, that is not something that you will necessarily see in polling. It is something that comes out when people make their decisions to caucus, so we’re doing it the right way. I’m going to be the only candidate that does all 99 counties,” DeSantis said on “The Source.”

A super PAC supporting DeSantis, Never Back Down, has spent $9.8 million boosting the governor on Iowa’s airwaves, as of early last month, more money than any other political committee or campaign.

Several notable conservative Iowans quickly offered their thoughts on the endorsement Sunday, with influential Iowa evangelical leader Bob Vander Plaats calling it a “game changer” for the primary.

“She is exceptionally popular and a great competitor,” Vander Plaats said of Reynolds’ influence in Iowa. “She wouldn’t endorse unless she saw a path to victory.”

And conservative Iowa radio host Jeff Angelo, whose popular show regularly brings on Republican presidential candidates, said that while he expects Trump will still win in Iowa, Reynolds’ backing “definitely helps” DeSantis’ efforts.

While Trump has boasted sustained support in Iowa, the state’s governor has for months felt differently about the leading candidate. In July, Trump lashed out at Reynolds for remaining neutral and for appearing alongside other candidates who had invited her to events across Iowa.

The former president in a social media post claimed credit for her ascent to the governorship and chastised her for not supporting him. Reynolds, as the state’s lieutenant governor, succeeded Gov. Terry Branstad in 2017 after he became Trump’s ambassador to China, and she was elected to a first full term the following year.

The other Republican presidential candidates immediately looked to ingratiate themselves to the popular governor against Trump’s attacks. DeSantis on a stop in Iowa in July said he would consider Reynolds as a potential running mate if he wins the nomination. He called her “one of the top public servants in America.”

On a call with Iowa media outlets in late October, DeSantis said a Reynolds endorsement “would be a huge get.”

“Obviously, I would love to have her support, formal support. I think that it would be very, very meaningful.”

This story has been updated with additional information.

CNN’s Jack Forrest, Steve ContornoAlayna TreeneJeff ZelenyDaniel Strauss and Kristen Holmes and Aaron Pellish contributed to this report.

The-CNN-Wire
™ & © 2023 Cable News Network, Inc., a Warner Bros. Discovery Company. All rights reserved.

We want to hear from you.

Have a story idea or tip? Send it to the KSL NewsRadio team here.

Politics + Government

gabby petito shown, her death inspired a law meant to prevent other domestic violence deaths...

Heather Peterson

“Gabby Petito Act” signed into law in Florida

The "Gabby Petito Act" is similar to a law adopted in Utah last year.

21 hours ago

Lt. Gov. Deidre Henderson...

Daniel Woodruff

New Utah school safety law earns praise from victims’ families, but cost concerns persist

Lt. Gov. Deidre Henderson ceremonially signed HB84 into law during an event Wednesday at the University of Utah.

1 day ago

Ukrainian Ambassador to the U.S, Oksana Markarova, speaking with different Utah leaders while visit...

BY ERIN COX KSLTV.com

Ambassador of Ukraine to U.S. meets with Utah state and church leaders

For the first time, Oksana Markarova, Ukrainian Ambassador to the US, paid Utah a visit. It’s a connection that’s been years in the making.

1 day ago

former slc mayor ted wilson...

Tammy Kikuchi

Former SLC Mayor Ted Wilson dies at 84

Ted Wilson served as the mayor of Salt Lake City in the 70s and 80s.

2 days ago

speaker of the house mike johnson shown,...

ERIC TUCKER and FARNOUSH AMIRI

Bill to reauthorize key US spy tool blocked by conservative revolt

The breakdown comes months after a similar process to reform and reauthorize the surveillance program fell apart before it even reached the House floor.

2 days ago

subscriptions...

Curt Gresseth

New Utah law targets auto-renewal subscriptions

A new Utah law says companies now have between 30 and 60 days to notify subscribers of their upcoming automatic renewal.

3 days ago

Sponsored Articles

...

Live Nation Concerts

Artists coming to Utah First Credit Union Amphitheatre (formerly USANA Amp) this summer

Summer concerts are more than just entertainment; they’re a celebration of life, love, and connection.

Mother and cute toddler child in a little fancy wooden cottage, reading a book, drinking tea and en...

Visit Bear Lake

How to find the best winter lodging in Bear Lake, Utah

Winter lodging in Bear Lake can be more limited than in the summer, but with some careful planning you can easily book your next winter trip.

Happy family in winter clothing at the ski resort, winter time, watching at mountains in front of t...

Visit Bear Lake

Ski more for less: Affordable ski resorts near Bear Lake, Utah

Plan your perfect ski getaway in Bear Lake this winter, with pristine slopes, affordable tickets, and breathtaking scenery.

front of the Butch Cassidy museum with a man in a cowboy hat standing in the doorway...

Bear Lake Convention and Visitors Bureau

Looking Back: The History of Bear Lake

The history of Bear Lake is full of fascinating stories. At over 250,000 years old, the lake has seen generations of people visit its shores.

silhouette of a family looking over a lake with a bird in the top corner flying...

Bear Lake Convention and Visitors Bureau

8 Fun Activities To Do in Bear Lake Without Getting in the Water

Bear Lake offers plenty of activities for the whole family to enjoy without having to get in the water. Catch 8 of our favorite activities.

Wellsville Mountains in the spring with a pond in the foreground...

Wasatch Property Management

Advantages of Renting Over Owning a Home

Renting allows you to enjoy luxury amenities and low maintenance without the long-term commitment and responsibilities of owning a home.

Iowa Gov. Kim Reynolds will endorse Ron DeSantis