Ron DeSantis embraces ‘underdog’ status ahead of Iowa caucuses
Image via AP.

Ron DeSantis
He dismissed polling, suggesting no one can predict a caucus outcome in negative-22-degree weather.

Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis said he’s embracing his “underdog” status in the Iowa caucuses.

“I’d rather have people count us out,” he told ABC News’ This Week. “I’d rather have people lower expectations for us. I tend to perform better like that.”

In an exclusive interview with the Republican presidential candidate, host Jonathan Karl played a series of clips where DeSantis repeatedly predicted an Iowa victory.

But recent polling indicates he still runs far behind former President Donald Trump in the first-in-the-nation contest for Republican delegates. A respected Iowa pollster on Saturday even showed him trailing in the state behind former U.N. Ambassador Nikki Haley.

DeSantis scoffed at surveys in the infamously-difficult-to-survey state. He suggested Iowans in general “roll their eyes at some of these polls.” Predictions will be harder to make, he said, in a low-turnout contest. The candidate said it’s especially hard to predict caucus results in negative-22-degree weather.

But he voiced confidence his voters will brave the cold.

“We’ve built this great organization,” DeSantis said. “We’ve got great enthusiasm on the ground.”

Still, DeSantis declined on Sunday to predict an outright caucus win, even when pressed by Karl on his prior prognostications of success.

“You know what, since then I’ve learned that it’s good to be an underdog,” DeSantis said.

DeSantis also said while many Republican voters like Trump, it would be a risky move to put trust in his fellow Floridian for a third consecutive presidential election.

“That ends up focusing the election on things that are going to be advantageous for Democrats because you’re not gonna be talking about the border. You’re not gonna be talking about the economy. You’re gonna be talking about all these things to make the election a referendum on Donald Trump.”

History shows that won’t help Republicans, either in the presidential election or down-ballot. Democrats benefited from Trump talk in 2018, 2020, 2021 and 2022, DeSantis said.

“If I’m the nominee, we’ll be solely focused on the issues that matter to the American people.”

Trump’s focus on his own personal issues ultimately plays into Democrats’ hands, Ron DeSantis argued to GOP voters.

In an exclusive with, the Florida Governor argued that the former President will provide fodder to the press all year. Karl pressed DeSantis on more frequent citation of Trump’s legal issues.

“He’s focused a lot on things that concern him,” DeSantis said. “Obviously the distractions of everything that is going along with all these legal issues is a huge thing for him. You’re gonna have criminal trials. You’re gonna have a lot of focus on things like Jan. 6 by the media.”

Jacob Ogles

Jacob Ogles has covered politics in Florida since 2000 for regional outlets including SRQ Magazine in Sarasota, The News-Press in Fort Myers and The Daily Commercial in Leesburg. His work has appeared nationally in The Advocate, Wired and other publications. Events like SRQ’s Where The Votes Are workshops made Ogles one of Southwest Florida’s most respected political analysts, and outlets like WWSB ABC 7 and WSRQ Sarasota have featured his insights. He can be reached at [email protected].


  • Teddy

    January 14, 2024 at 11:01 am

    lol and when he was winning Florida in 2020 he was extremely cocky. America doesn’t want dictator Ron ! He doest even know how to treat people right . Jews just a bad guy

    • Teddy

      January 14, 2024 at 11:02 am

      Not Jews but he’s just a bad guy*

  • PeterH

    January 14, 2024 at 12:40 pm

    The underdog will be viewing America from the underside of the 2024 Republican Presidential Primary Klown Bus in no time!

    Unfortunately for Floridians we’ll be stuck with this toxicity for two more years.

    • Dont Say FLA

      January 15, 2024 at 10:30 am

      I predict excuse making and then undoing Rhonda’s exemption from Resign to Run and their subsequent expulsion from the office of Top Gov (lol).

      I also predict that the excuse making will be based upon information that comes to light after Rhonda’s exemption from the Sunshine law mysteriously somehow gets turned over or worked around.

      The Sunshine law exemption was put in place to give Rhonda all the rope the Florida G0P wanted him to have for when he comes home raging about how it’s all their fault Rhonda lost.

  • Ocean Joe

    January 14, 2024 at 3:55 pm

    He’s not going to be president, even if hell and Iowa freeze over.

  • Dont Say FLA

    January 15, 2024 at 9:52 am

    I can’t predict the outcome of a caucus in negative 22F weather, but I can definitely say Iowa’s voters will have to really really really LIKE their candidate to go caucus for them today. And Everybody Hates Rhonda.

Comments are closed.


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