Iowa Gov. Kim Reynolds (R) is endorsing Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis (R) for president on Monday, in a move that could have significant ramifications on the 2024 Republican primary. The news comes about two months ahead of the first nominating contest held in the Hawkeye State early next year.
Reynolds’ decision could provide a boost to her Florida counterpart, whose campaign has struggled in recent months. The governor is also breaking a common tradition in which governors from the state generally stay out of the presidential primary.
The governor had stayed neutral in the important race until recently, having hosted a number of GOP candidates at the Iowa State Fair earlier this year.
It is still not clear what the effects of Reynold’s endorsement will be on the Jan. 15 caucuses, which former President Donald Trump lost to Sen. Ted Cruz (R-TX) in 2016.
Despite the endorsement, there is still an uphill climb for the Florida governor. Trump has a more than 30% lead in the RealClearPolitics polling average, including a near-majority of those surveyed.
Currently, Trump carries nearly 49% of voters, with DeSantis coming in second with about 17%. Former South Carolina Gov. Nikki Haley (R) is currently in third with a little less than 12%.
The only other candidates that poll above 5% are Sen. Tim Scott (R-SC), who tallies about 6% and businessman Vivek Ramaswamy, who polls at a little more than 5%.
No other candidate received significant support.
— Never Back Down (@NvrBackDown24) November 5, 2023
Former Vice President Mike Pence was polling at 3% prior to his recent exit from the race, which could impact the support levels of the other candidates.
The endorsement could also impact the other candidates’ efforts, who are now less likely to be able to leapfrog either Trump or DeSantis in the state’s caucuses.
The Trump campaign wrote that Reynolds “begun her retirement tour early as she clearly does not have any ambition for higher office.”
“President Trump is the undisputed leader of the Republican Party and that’s why he not only leads every single Iowa poll by significant margins but also beats Crooked Joe Biden in the general,” the campaign wrote, referencing the current president.