Local GOP leaders say Iowa’s ‘retail politics’ only appeals to 2024 hopefuls

Iowa State Fair 9

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As 2024 hopefuls descend on the Iowa State Fair, the state’s top GOP leaders tell Fox News Digital the state is uniquely positioned to help America elect presidential candidates because of his style of “retail politics” and that President Biden’s failures will propel Republicans to victory in the coming semesters.

Sen. Rick Scott, R-Fla., Sen. Tom Cotton, R-Ark., Sen. Tim Scott, RSC, former Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, Sen. Ted Cruz, R-Texas, and former Vice President Mike Pence are some of potential 2024 contenders who have stopped by Iowa in recent months.

“I’ve been meeting and interviewing and having events with these people, literally, for over a year now,” Iowa GOP Chairman Jeff Kaufmann told Fox News Digital Friday.

“We just had Tim Scott from South Carolina up here. He really connected with the audience, the Iowa GOP members. [Former U.S. Ambassador to the UN] Nikki Haley was up here in Dubuque. He had the crowd hanging on his every word. Rick Scott has been here a couple of times. Tom Cotton has probably been up here more and crossed, I don’t know, [about] of a quarter of the state. Mike Pompeo is getting a very good reception. The former vice president [Pence] it’s here again…and it will be back, I know, in the not-too-distant future,” Kaufmann explained.


Pork Producers Tent at the Iowa State Fair in Des Moines.

Iowa’s big state fair is a major attraction for presidential hopefuls. Maryland Gov. Larry Hogan made the trip to the fair earlier this week. Pence is scheduled to walk the fair Friday with Sen. Chuck Grassley, R-Iowa, as they hit up popular tents and talk to constituents.

Iowa Republican Party Co-Chair Linda Upmeyer, who was the first woman elected to be speaker of the state House, said the Iowa State Fair is unique in that it attracts so many potential candidates from the 2024.

“I think one of the unique things about Iowa is a range of candidates, and of course presidential candidates. When people come to these elections and choose for the caucuses, we have a lot of candidates and we spend a lot of time with them. . They get on the soapbox, they talk,” Upmeyer said.

Pork Producers Tent at the Iowa State Fair in Des Moines.

Pork Producers Tent at the Iowa State Fair in Des Moines.

He said that while Rick Scott, Tom Cotton, Mike Pompeo and others have come to Iowa recently, he tries not to read too much into their reasons for visiting the state.


“I think it’s important for the entire country that Iowa maintains its first in the nation,” Upmeyer said, referring to the state’s status as the first primary caucus, which could change.

“Iowans, I mean, we’ve really set very high expectations for every candidate. It’s a state with a size and a geography where you can do great retail politics. So everybody’s hoping that they’ll get a chance to really look. at their candidate in the eye, shake their hand, ask them a question,” Upmeyer explained.

Iowa Democratic Party Chairman Ross Wilburn said Iowa Republican leaders are beholden to out-of-state influences.

“As Kim Reynolds and Chuck Grassley take their orders from Washington insiders, Iowa Democrats are committed to putting people above politics and listening to the concerns of our neighbors in every corner of our state,” he said. say, referring to the state governor and his senior. senator

“Kim Reynolds and Chuck Grassley support a national abortion ban with no exceptions and want to divert public money from our world-class public schools to unaccountable out-of-state corporations.

“His agenda couldn’t be further from what Iowans want, and Iowa Republicans know it. That’s why they’re doing everything they can to muddy the waters. But Iowans won’t be fooled by his lies and misinformation.” .

Cattle show at the Iowa State Fair in Des Moines.

Cattle show at the Iowa State Fair in Des Moines.

The chairman of the Democratic National Committee (DNC) held a press conference Friday morning to coincide with Pence’s arrival at the fairgrounds, criticizing his strong pro-life stance.

“Mike Pence is trying to escape his track record as a member of Trump’s MAGA and is hitting the road to promote his extreme anti-choice agenda in Iowa,” said DNC spokesman Ammar Moussa. “We can count on Mike Pence to make his plan to ban abortion in every state the new litmus test for Republicans, and we’ll be here to hold them accountable every day.”

When asked about the abortion issue affecting voter turnout, Upmeyer told Fox News Digital that people are misinterpreting the Supreme Court’s decision in Dobbs v.


“What the Supreme Court said is that the decision should be made in the states. So, because the decision is made in the state, we have the perfect opportunity for a lot of debate and discussion. Instead, it seems that people have gone to their corners. and I decided what that means. So I think, you know, it’s going to have to be seen who benefits, who, who loses,” he said.

Kaufmann said the boost in the middle of the GOP is unparalleled because of Iowans’ rejection of Biden’s policies.

“Iowans are rejecting Biden in big numbers. I mean, independents rejecting Biden, Democrats rejecting Biden. So the question really isn’t Biden’s position, it’s whether Biden’s rejection will affect other Democrats. I mean, this is really the question here,” Kaufmann said.

The president said he doesn’t even have to try “too hard” to tie Democratic candidates to Biden, which he says will be helpful for the party.

Pork Producers Tent at the Iowa State Fair in Des Moines.

Pork Producers Tent at the Iowa State Fair in Des Moines.

As for the top issues for voters, Kaufmann cites inflation and “bottomless” energy as the top two.

“In terms of issues, there are a lot of sub-issues. Absolutely, positively: inflation and energy costs,” Kaufmann said.

Iowa Rep. Ashley Hinson echoed Kaufmann, telling Fox News Digital Friday in front of the fair’s pork producer tent that “the economy, the economy, the economy” is the top priority for voters in Iowa.

“Well, I think it’s all economics, economics, economics. I mean, look around the state fair, it’s all you’re putting on your plate to celebrate Iowa agriculture. But I think everybody here is very sensitive to food prices. , the cost of things, the cost of goods and services. So inflation and the supply chain are going to be driving this election,” Hinson said.

Kelly Laco is politics editor for Fox News Digital. Story tips can be sent to Kelly.Laco@Fox.com and on Twitter: @kelly_laco.

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