Trump to head to Iowa with an eye on 2024

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Former President Donald Trump plans to hold a rally in the first-in-the-nation caucus state of Iowa as he continues to tease a third run for the White House.

Details for Trump’s trip are still being worked out, but it comes on the heels of visits to the state by other high profile Republicans also eyeing a run for president. This summer, a steady parade of top GOPers have held fundraisers and political events in Iowa in an effort to support the party but also rub elbows with GOP leadership who will prove instrumental in the early presidential caucus state.

Trump’s vice president Mike Pence, as well as his former UN ambassador, Nikki Haley, and secretary of state, Mike Pompeo, have all traveled to Iowa this year for GOP fundraisers or to address conservatives in the state. So too have South Dakota Gov. Kristi Noem, and Sens. Ted Cruz (R-Tex.), Marco Rubio (R-Fla.) and Sen. Tom Cotton (R-Ark.), fueling speculation they are testing the waters for a presidential run.

But those top Republicans and others are stuck in political limbo as Trump takes his time announcing his own plans. When asked about whether or not he plans to run in 2024 during recent interviews, Trump has demurred and said people “will be happy” with his decision.

Behind the scenes, however, Trump has started to lay the groundwork for a bid. Earlier this month, he hired two operatives in Iowa — Eric Branstad and Alexander Latcham — to cover a “broad political portfolio focused on advancing Save America’s goals of electing strong, Pro-Trump, America First conservatives,” according to a spokesperson.

Trump mentioned his plans to visit Iowa during an appearance on the right wing Todd Starnes radio show on Monday. Multiple Trump aides confirmed plans are in the works. Whether or not Trump decides to enter the race will also not have any bearing on the Iowa GOP caucus. When asked if the caucus will still be open even if Trump decides to run, Iowa GOP spokesperson Kollin Crompton said “yes, absolutely.”

Trump also said he will visit Georgia, where he is expected to rally supporters and rail against Republican Gov. Brian Kemp, whom he has blamed for his 2020 loss in the state. Last week, Trump’s Save America PAC commissioned a poll that shows Kemp on shaky ground in a GOP primary.

Back in 2016, Trump lost the Iowa GOP caucus to Cruz and accused the Texas senator of committing fraud (there remains no evidence of such). Trump went on to win Iowa during the general election. In 2020, Trump won Iowa 53.1 percent to 44.9 percent.

The dates and order of the 2024 presidential primaries have not been set, but in a sign that Iowa will continue to lead the pack with the first caucus, Iowa’s Republican party chair Jeff Kaufmann was put in charge of the GOP’s Presidential Nominating Process Committee.

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