GOP presidential hopeful Ron DeSantis remains optimistic about his chances of winning the forthcoming Iowa caucus, despite former President Trump’s significant lead and polls indicating that former U.N. ambassador Nikki Haley is surging, potentially tying with the Florida governor.
During an interview on NBC’s “Meet the Press,” DeSantis was asked by NBC’s Kristen Welker if he would withdraw from the race if he didn’t secure at least second place in the Iowa caucus. DeSantis did not directly respond and instead reiterated his belief in winning the caucus.
“Well, we’re going to win the caucus. We’re doing everything that we need to do it. We’ll continue to build support,” he told Welker, who persisted in seeking a concrete answer from him.
DeSantis emphasized that winning the caucus doesn’t always lead to winning the nomination. He also noted the dynamic nature of the race, predicting that the field will show change by the time the Iowa caucuses take place.
Recent polling from Des Moines Register/NBC News/Mediacom Iowa showed DeSantis and Haley tied for second place in Iowa, with Trump enjoying a 27-point lead as the first-choice candidate with 43% support.
While Haley has been pooling her resources in Iowa, DeSantis has also been campaigning in the state, garnering an endorsement from Iowa Gov. Kim Reynolds (R), who had initially said she would stay neutral in the 2024 primary. He’s also working on completing a “full Grassley” — visiting all 99 Iowa counties.
DeSantis predicted that voters will face a choice between him and Trump, framing the primary as a “referendum” on the former president.
“We have a much better chance if we’re doing it with me as the candidate,” he said. “I’d also be able to serve two terms, and I’m more likely to actually get a lot of this stuff done. But those are the choices, realistically, for Republican voters.”
The interview initially aired on NBC’s “Weekend Nightly News” and will be fully broadcasted on “Meet the Press” Sunday morning.