Republican candidates are working hard heading into the 2024 presidential election trying to gain endorsements. Every positive promotion helps them as they contend for the second-place position to the frontrunner.
Key primaries will kick off the heat of the campaign season after the first of the year. One of the more influential early primaries is Iowa where GOP challengers are vying for key endorsements. Any candidate wanting to mount a strong challenge to the frontrunner into next year will need all the promotional help they can get.
A respected evangelical leader within a top social conservative organization in Iowa has made his pick. This is a big boost for a candidate fighting hard for the second spot in the GOP field.
The personal endorsement by Bob Vander Plaats, president and CEO of The Family Leader organization, is for Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis. Plaats announced his choice in an interview on Fox News’ “Special Report” on Tuesday.
From Fox News:
“We need to find somebody who can win in 2024,” Vander Plaats said, praising DeSantis as “bold and courageous.”
DeSantis and 2024 GOP White House rivals, former ambassador and former South Carolina Gov. Nikki Haley and biotech entrepreneur Vivek Ramaswamy, appeared with Vander Plaats on Friday at a Family Leader presidential forum in Des Moines, Iowa.
Iowa leads off the caucuses next year, followed by New Hampshire which holds the first primary and second overall contest in the GOP nominating schedule. DeSantis was campaigning in New Hampshire at the time of Vander Plaats’ endorsement.
DeSantis noted that the evangelical leaders supporters “gravitated to me” and he praised the relationship with Vander Plaats. The social conservative said that DeSantis “closed the sale on me” at the forum.
“He was very clear about, we need a president who can serve two terms, not one. We don’t need a president that’s going to be a lame duck on day one,” Vander Plaats said.
Former President Donald Trump is the overwhelming GOP frontrunner at this point, but he declined to the attend the forum. This was the second Vander Plaats event that Trump skipped this year, and the evangelical leader has a tenuous relationship with Trump. Vander Plaats has publicly said that this next election is a time for new conservative leadership and relayed that Trump’s absences are revealing to his base.
Vander Plaats has told the media that there is “definitely a shot that the former president can be beat” in this election. DeSantis echoed the sentiment that “Trump is not going to be the way forward, not going to be able to get the job done, particularly as a lame duck president.”
The success of DeSantis’ campaign may well rest on his ability to win in Iowa. He is bolstered by Vander Plaats’ praise and the endorsement earlier this month of Gov. Kim Reynolds. She is popular among the Iowa Republican base.
DeSantis has said that winning the firs two states in the primary will “totally upend the conventional wisdom” on the campaign trail. He referred to these endorsements, and those from other state lawmakers and officials, as a “powerful machine” in his bid to win in Iowa.
Vander Plaats has helped previous GOP candidates win in Iowa, but all have failed to gain the GOP presidential nomination.
Trump’s campaign didn’t seem phased by the endorsement, and said that “Kim Reynolds’ endorsement won’t save Ron DeSanctus, and neither will Vander Plaat$’ endorsement.”
- Top GOP challenger gets evangelical endorsement in key primary state.
- The announcement mirrors past campaigns that helped the candidate win.
- This latest endorsement adds to the Iowa governor’s choice for president.
Source: Fox News