DES MOINES, Iowa – The midterm elections in 2022 will be at the center as former President Trump holds a rally in Iowa on Saturday – his first in the competitive state since the election last year.
But in a state whose caucuses have kicked off the presidential nomination process for half a century, there will also be plenty of 2024 intrigues.
TRUMPHOLDING IOWA RALLY ON SHOULD STOP LONG WAY TO WHITE HOUSE
“IOWA is absolutely critical of our efforts to take the House and Senate back in 2022 and then the White House in 2024,” the former president said in an email to supporters earlier this week.
Republicans need a net gain of one seat to regain control of the 100-member Senate and a net gain of five seats in the House of 435 members to win the majority back in next year’s midterm elections.
The road to a majority in the GOP House can run through Hawkeye State, where three of the state’s four representatives are Republicans. Two of them-rep. Ashley Hinson and Mariannette Miller-Meeks-won their seats by razor-sharp margins last November and are likely to face challenging re-election. And the GOP is targeting the state’s only Democrat in Parliament, Rep. Cindy Axne, who narrowly won re-election last year.
Set high-profile re-election for Republican Gov. Kim Reynolds and longtime GOP senator Chuck Grassley, and Iowa will spend plenty of time in the campaign spotlight in the year leading up to the 2022 midterm periods.
TRUMP’S TEAM IN IOWA HAS EYES IN 2022, BUT THEIR PRESENCE SPARKS MORE 2024 SPECULATION
“I think it’s a sign that President Trump is going to be heavily involved in 2022,” Iowa GOP Jeff Kaufmann told Fox News. “It’s about the president understanding that Iowa can be the way to a majority in the House of Commons … I really think you’ll hear him say a lot about 2022.”
Kaufmann, as well as Reynolds, Grassley, and the rest of the Republican members of the state congressional delegation will speak at the convention at the Iowa State Fairgrounds in Des Moines ahead of the president’s evening speech. And some of these GOP politicians may land Trump’s recommendations at the convention.
Eric Branstad, one of Trump’s two top political advisers in the state, stressed that midterms are at the top of his agenda. Branstad, who led the former president’s campaign in Hawkeye State in the 2016 and 2020 elections and is the son of former longtime governor Terry Branstad, told Fox News that he and the rest of the former president’s team in Iowa “are focused on picking Republicans up and down the ticket. That’s where our focus is. “
But this is Iowa.
Asked whether there are 2024 implications for Trump’s visit to support Republicans in 2022, Kauffman replied “are the two connected – of course they are. We are in Iowa.”
TRUMP HEADS FOR IOWA WITH SIGNES HIGHEST SENSING NUMBER EVER IN THE BATTLEGROUND KEY AND FIRST CAUCUS STATE
Trump arrives in Hawkeye State days after scoring his best favorable ratings ever in the Des Moines Register poll, considered the gold standard in this jungle.
53 percent of Iowans had a positive view of the former president, and 45% had an unfavorable view, according to a study by the Des Moines Register / Mediacom published Monday. And only among Republicans was he on a soaring 91% favoritism.
“Donald Trump is going to have an incredible reception in Iowa. He is very popular with the base,” said longtime Iowa-based GOP consultant David Kochel. “He’s going to be at the forefront of Iowa if he decides to run.”
Trump repeatedly teases to make yet another presidential campaign to try to return to the White House. “I can not reveal it yet. But I definitely know my answer,” he said in a Fox News interview in July when asked if he would run again. “And we’re going to do very well. And people are going to be very happy.”
And he told Fox News in an interview last month that “I do not think we will get a choice.”
TRUMP 2024 FLIRTING DOES NOT STOP OTHER POTENTIAL GOP RIVALS FROM VISITS OF KEY EARLY STATES
Trump is still very popular and influential among Republican voters as he continues to play the role of a monarch in the GOP’s primary policy, and he would be the clear frontrunner for his party’s presidential nomination if he decides to run. But his repeated flirtations have prevented other potential candidates from 2024 from visiting Iowa as well as New Hampshire, which for a century has had its first presidential primary, and South Carolina and Nevada, the other two states with early voting.
Kochel, a veteran of a number of GOP presidential campaigns over the past few decades, highlighted that “there is plenty of willingness from Iowa Republicans to go out and see other potential 2024 candidates. I do not think anyone is holding out. away because I do not think anyone really knows what the future holds and whether Trump will ultimately make a decision to run. ”
But he added that if Trump follows up on his flirtation and running, “it will be an uphill battle for everyone else.”
Bob Vander Plaats, who for a dozen years has served as president and CEO of The Family Leader, a top social conservative organization, told Fox News that there was “no doubt” a component in 2024 to Trump’s convention in Des Moines.
And he said the stop in Iowa could be a signal to other potential 2024 GOP White House hopefuls in 2024 and to Republican voters.
Vander Plaats said that Trump “has seen many potential 2024 candidates who have already crossed the state and therefore it may be a message to them that ‘I have not decided yet’ and it may be a message to his base, that ‘I’m still here.’ “
And the former president’s appointment a few months ago of Branstad and colleague Iowa, native Alex Latcham, Trump’s political director in Iowa during the 2016 election campaign and a deputy political director in the Trump White House, could be a marker.
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“If he intends to run, there are no two better people to hire than the two,” Kochel said. “If you want to do it, or even if you want to send the signal that you are allowed to drive, that’s the step you take.”
And Vander Plaats said the hiring of Branstad and Latcham is “definitely a message” that if Trump wants to be organized in Iowa, he can do it quickly.