Gov. Ron DeSantis’ Iowa or bust strategy continues, with his spokesperson telling an in-state radio audience they would go “pedal to the metal” through January’s caucuses.
Carly Atchison said the campaign had “shattered expectations raising $15 million in the third quarter,” bringing in a “huge haul” that “gives us the resources to turn up the heat and get ready for Iowa caucus … just 100 days away.
“This big number has allowed us to take some of our top staff, about a third of our staff, to Iowa. So we’ll have a presence across the state. We’ll host events and we will be just pedal to the metal,” she added during an interview on WHO radio.
Atchisonsaid that while some staffers will be in Des Moines, others will be deployed around the Hawkeye State. All of them will have a front row seat to what she calls “political history.”
The DeSantis operation raised approximately $15 million between the campaign itself, his political action committee and a fundraising committee between July 1 and Sept. 30. Of the money, just $5 million can be spent during the Primary period.
DeSantis has presented Iowa as his best shot against Donald Trump, telling reporters during a press conference Tuesday that opponents should “collapse” behind him so that anti-Trump votes weren’t split among candidates.
“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.
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.
Atchison made that case Thursday.
“The Trump team was ready to move on to the general election and just kind of cast us aside. But the reality is now they’ve stepped up their operation in Iowa to try and (match) ours which they can’t, by this point, you know, you either have an organized ground game or you don’t.”