On New Year’s Eve, Ron DeSantis urges crowd to defy odds and help him ‘win the Iowa caucuses’
Image via AP.

DeSantis Iowa New Year's Eve
No one has more riding on Iowa than DeSantis.

To underscore how much Iowa means to Ron DeSantis, the Florida Governor was unwilling to put his campaigning there on hold even in the waning hours of 2023.

At a New Year’s Eve event in a Sheraton Hotel ballroom in West Des Moines, jeans and cowboy boots outnumbered tuxedos and cocktail dresses, and Miller Lite seemed more popular than champagne.

But the modesty of the affair, where roughly 200 people turned out for the last campaign event of the busy year in Iowa, belied its importance to the host, who has wagered the future of his Republican bid for president on the leadoff Iowa caucuses, just two weeks away.

“Are you ready to work hard over these next two weeks and win the Iowa caucuses?” DeSantis asked supporters who turned out at the suburban hotel Sunday evening.

While Donald Trump prepares to return this week for a series of rallies, DeSantis did not leave Iowa alone during the week between Christmas and New Year’s. He campaigned in the suburbs of Des Moines, Cedar Rapids and Davenport, revisiting spots he had gone to in 2023 as part of his drive to touch all 99 of Iowa’s counties as a gesture of commitment to the leadoff nominating contests.

But Trump holds a large advantage in Iowa polls as well as a sophisticated campaign organization in the state, threatening to deny DeSantis the win he needs to justify his claim to be the leading alternative to the former president.

Appearing Sunday night with his wife, Casey, and their young children, DeSantis urged his audience to defy the odds. “I think we have an opportunity to just make a statement that in this country it’s we the people that ultimately decide these things,” he said. “Because I think you have a lot of media, they don’t think you even matter.”

DeSantis wasn’t alone in Iowa between Christmas and New Year’s, a period typically free from politics. The Jan. 15 caucuses’ earlier-than-usual spot on the election-year calendar lured former South Carolina Gov. Nikki Haley to eastern Iowa stops Friday and Saturday, as she competes with DeSantis as a Trump alternative.

Biotech entrepreneur Vivek Ramaswamy also stormed the state, trying to remain part of the conversation despite curtailing his advertising spending. Ramaswamy held more than two dozen Iowa events last week and over the weekend.

No one has more riding on Iowa than DeSantis, who reshuffled a campaign viewed early as national in scope after summer staff shakeups prompted by overspending and internal disagreements. He stood onstage Sunday evening in West Des Moines with Iowa Gov. Kim Reynolds and evangelical Christian leader Bob Vander Plaats, who have risked their own influence by backing DeSantis.

DeSantis and his supporters asked the audience Sunday to ignore polls that show him trailing Trump appreciably.

“Everywhere I go the polls do not match up with reality,” Vander Plaats told the crowd. “Going up in northwest Iowa — heavy Trump country — they all say the same thing to me. They like what he did, but it’s time to turn the page.”

DeSantis has an unrelenting Iowa schedule ahead of him beginning early this week. Trump, who has drawn hundreds — even thousands — more to fewer events, plans his own blitz over the final two weeks, including in deeply conservative northwest Iowa.


Republished with permission of The Associated Press.

Associated Press


  • Abram Nicholson

    January 1, 2024 at 12:54 pm

    DeSantis is another autocratic jerk almost as bad as trump. Another liar responsible for the Covid deaths that made Florida the third worst place in the US for dying from covid.

    • Ron The House Cat 🐈

      January 1, 2024 at 1:00 pm

      Fact-checked and found to be TRUE.

      DeSantis Death-Dealer ☠️

    • Ron Forrest Ron

      January 1, 2024 at 10:33 pm

      Disagree. Florida was the third BEST place for dying from Covid. Most folks who died from it chose death on purpose, so for them it was a positive being allowed, practically set up, even, to croak from Rhonda’s Covid policy, same as his guns everywhere policy, “Covid Everywhere”

      What I no comprendo is why Ron doesn’t legalize assisted suicide in Florida for all Floridians with a hideous, wasting terminal disease.

      The way Rhonda encouraged suicide so strongly in the elderly and/or otherwise feeble during Covid, you’d think his “freedom [to die]” Covid policy would apply to all diseases.

      But nope. There’s no freedom in Florida to die except from Covid or old age or in a car crash or a mass shooting.

      Why Rhonda? Why? Why leave cancer patients wasting away for months or years when you happily fed people death by Covid, claiming that to be freedom?

  • Ron The House Cat 🐈

    January 1, 2024 at 12:59 pm

    Make the patient comfortable…

  • Tom

    January 1, 2024 at 1:28 pm

    Denial, anger, bargaining, depression and acceptance – I guess we’re in the bargaining stage.

  • My Take

    January 1, 2024 at 4:01 pm

    We (as a nation, but maybe not Florida specifically) will have to put up with a lot less daily DeSSantis if he trails badly

    But Trump will explode in a volcanis outpouring of derision and lies if DeSSantis even comes close.

  • Julia

    January 1, 2024 at 6:32 pm

    Make $280 per hour. Getting a job is not easy. In any case, you have access to a wealth of resources to help you with your work style. Become motivated to promote hundreds of jobs through job boards and vx02 career websites.

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  • Dont Say FLA

    January 1, 2024 at 10:17 pm

    Rhonda’s campaign has made two things abundantly clear to U.S. Americans.

    1: Everybody Hates Rhonda (of course, obviously)

    2: Ron has no idea how to be successful as President of the USA. This is why he deals in scare tactics and tries to sell old, outdated, rehashed ideas to voters who themselves also have no idea how to be successful.

  • Sonja Fitch

    January 2, 2024 at 4:09 am

    Iowa ain’t buying the carpet bagger Desantis! Get out Desantis! Go back to Gizmo as a prisoner for your crimes against humanity.

Comments are closed.


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