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.

™ & © 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

Republican Rep. George Santos of New York rides an elevator at the US Capitol on November 1, in Was...

Clare Foran and Haley Talbot, CNN

Santos refuses to resign a day ahead of expected expulsion vote

Santos described the effort to expel him as “bullying” and lamented what he described as “chaos” in Congress.

4 hours ago

Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-NY) speaks during a news conference following a closed-door...

STEPHEN GROVES Associated Press

Senate Majority Leader Schumer warns antisemitism is on the rise

His remarks during a nearly-45 minute speech on the Senate floor Wednesday come at a sensitive time in the Israel-Hamas war.

13 hours ago

Deedee Corradini, the former Salt Lake City mayor, was instrumental in getting the Olympics to Utah...

Amanda Dickson

Dickson: Remembering Deedee Corradini after the Olympics news today

Former Salt Lake City Mayor Deedee Corradini was instrumental in getting the Olympics. She would be ecstatic to see them again.

22 hours ago

celeste maloy, the newest member of congress...

Sam Herrera

Celeste Maloy sworn into Congress a week after special election win

Congresswoman Celeste Maloy was sworn in to Congress Tuesday night, but she had already started her work in the days following the special election in Utah.

2 days ago

Image of Utah Attorney General Sean Reyes, speaking at UVU in Orem on April 22. Reyes was sued Mond...

Bridger Beal-Cvetko

Lawsuit accuses AG Sean Reyes of intimidating critic of Tim Ballard, OUR

The lawsuit is the fourth complaint against Ballard in recent months and the first time Reyes is named as a defendant.

3 days ago

Honor Guard members carry a casket with the remains former first lady Rosalynn Carter out of a hear...

BILL BARROW Associated Press

Rosalynn Carter tributes highlight reach as first lady, humanitarian

Rosalynn Carter will lie in repose at The Jimmy Carter Presidential Library in Atlanta, followed by funerals in Atlanta and Plaines, Georgia.

3 days ago

Sponsored Articles

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.

Clouds over a red rock vista in Hurricane, Utah...

Wasatch Property Management

Why Southern Utah is a Retirement Paradise

Retirement in southern Utah offers plenty of cultural and recreational opportunities. Find out all that this region has to offer.

Human hand holding a protest banner stop vaping message over a crowded street background....

Prosperous Utah Communities

Utah’s Battle to Protect Youth from Vaping Epidemic Faces New Threat as Proposed Rule Threatens Progress

Utah's strict standards of nicotine levels in vaping products are at risk, increasing health hazards associated with use. Read more about how you can advocate for a better future for Utah's youth.

Aerial photo of Bear Lake shoreline with canopies and people camped out on the beach...

Visit Bear Lake

Last-Minute Summer Vacation Planning? Check Out Bear Lake!

Bear Lake is the perfect getaway if you are last-minute summer vacation planning. Enjoy activities with your whole family at this iconic lake.

Iowa Gov. Kim Reynolds will endorse Ron DeSantis