Battle for second place intensifies as Iowa caucus begins  

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By Carina

In the frosty political landscape of Iowa, the caucuses on January 15 are witnessing a heated battle for the second spot between Florida Governor Ron DeSantis and former U.N. Ambassador Nikki Haley, as former President Donald Trump maintains a significant lead. 

Recent polls indicate Ms. Haley inching ahead of Mr. DeSantis, though both trail behind Trump considerably. 

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Trump leads in Iowa poll; DeSantis, Haley determined in GOP primary race

The latest Des Moines Register/NBC News/Mediacom poll shows Trump at 48 percent, Haley at 20 percent, and DeSantis at 16 percent.

The former president has taken a unique approach in his campaign, shunning debates and live events in favor of tele rallies and keeping the press at bay. Despite this, neither DeSantis nor Haley shows signs of conceding the race. 

Mr. DeSantis confidently stated, “The fact of the matter is, I’m the only one that could possibly compete with Donald Trump in a Republican primary. She [Haley] cannot win conservative Republican voters.” 

In contrast, Ms. Haley expressed her unyielding ambition on CBS News’s “Face the Nation,” saying, “I don’t play for a second… I’m not interested in being vice president. I’m running to be president, and I’m running to win, and we will.”

Read More: Trump’s first public critique of Ramaswamy ahead of Iowa caucus

DeSantis and Haley attract voters amid campaign tactics

DeSantis’s campaign has taken a jab at Haley by creating, suggesting she might team up with Trump. 

However, both candidates are drawing attention from undecided voters and even converting some Trump supporters. 

For instance, Diane Pershing from Cedar Rapids, after attending a DeSantis rally, decided, “I’m going to caucus for DeSantis.” 

Meanwhile, Haley’s campaign has captivated voters like Amanda Klatt from Polk City, who finds Trump too polarizing.

DeSantis, Haley adopt different campaign strategies in close GOP race

On the ground, DeSantis’s campaign has been more active, knocking on 930,000 doors and recruiting 1,700 precinct captains. 

Conversely, Haley has invested heavily in television advertising, spending over $4.6 million. Despite this difference in approach, polls suggest a closer race than the campaign efforts might indicate.

 AnneMarie Graham-Barnes from Haley’s team voiced confidence in their ground strategy, stating, “We’re confident that her efforts will pay off next week.”

Also Read: Trump relies on MAGA surrogates in Iowa campaign 

Haley, DeSantis gear up for Iowa caucus despite severe winter storms

Haley, endorsed by Americans for Prosperity in November 2023, has seen the group conducting extensive door-to-door campaigns in Iowa. 

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Both candidates have planned post-caucus events in New Hampshire and South Carolina, signaling their long-term campaign strategies.

As the Iowa caucuses approach, the state has been battered by severe winter storms, raising concerns about voter turnout. Gov. DeSantis acknowledged this, saying, “The weather’s really bad… There may be significantly less this time.” 

However, Iowan voters like Ben Leifker from Dubuque remain undeterred, indicating a strong commitment to participate despite the harsh weather conditions.

Iowa caucus tests candidates and voter resolve in GOP race

This caucus is not just a test of the candidates’ appeal but also of their resilience and the determination of Iowa voters. 

As the candidates make their final appeals, the outcome of the Iowa caucuses remains a crucial indicator of the momentum in the Republican race, with Trump leading but DeSantis and Haley vying vigorously for a strong showing.

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