Gov. Ron DeSantis continues to hope that the field in Iowa clears, allowing a two-person race with Donald Trump in the 2024 caucuses.
During a press conference, the Republican presidential candidate said that “if everyone wants to collapse behind me” he would “welcome that,” expressing confidence that support would ultimately “coalesce” around him.
“Here’s what we know. We know that the only two candidates that have a chance to win the Iowa caucus are myself and Donald Trump. That’s it,” DeSantis said.
“Would it be easier if it was one-on-one? Yes, it would be. But I think our view is we’re going to amass the support of Iowans that we need, even if it remains a crowded field.”
The comments to Iowa reporters come ahead of a trip to the state later this week, and after polling suggested DeSantis has gotten some juice after last week’s Republican presidential debate.
A survey of 400 Hawkeye State Republicans from the Citizen Awareness Project, conducted by Public Opinion Strategies on Sept. 28 and 29, shows that “Iowa caucus-goers, especially those who watched, say Ron DeSantis won this week’s GOP debate.”
DeSantis, per the polling memo, is viewed as the “strongest on border security” and “best able to defeat Donald Trump” by more than 40% of likely caucus goers.
A CBS News survey released last week showed DeSantis above 20% in the state, though 30 points behind Trump.
DeSantis’ campaign has depicted its Iowa effort as a “drive toward victory.” The DeSantis team’s confidence that Iowa is a “two-man race” is rooted in Trump’s Make America Great Again super PAC spending again against the Governor in Iowa, after taking a break from expenditures during the summer.
“Trump has shot himself in the foot in Iowa and opened the door, and Ron DeSantis is about to kick it down. The hard work the Governor is putting in now to complete the ‘Full Grassley’ is going to pay dividends in the long-run and allow us to drive toward victory,” wrote spokesman Andrew Romeo last week.