Can Ron DeSantis win Iowa? Watch his first presidential campaign tour 2023

Ron DeSantis talked to enthusiastic Iowans from a patio table at Jethro’s BBQ Southside in Des Moines, capturing the lightning that flashed overhead.

After former President Donald Trump canceled his outdoor gathering due to bad weather, the Florida governor won political points with the unplanned trip.

Days later, DeSantis announced his campaign in a botched Twitter event. Trump and political analysts mocked his IT meltdown and underlined his low national polling ratings.

His followers lauded his zeal and political savvy.

DeSantis will return to Iowa on Tuesday as a presidential contender. He’ll aim to show on the nation’s biggest presidential primary stage that he’s ready, both in content and flair, to challenge Trump and survive a brutal presidential campaign.

He starts better than most. Iowa Republicans are eager to see if he lives up to his Fox News persona.

However, his early blunders have some Iowa Republicans doubting his ability to deliver.

“His position has many drawbacks. “People have very high expectations for him,” said Eric Woolson, a key aide to former Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker’s 2016 Iowa caucus campaign.

Walker, like many others before him, arrived in Iowa with great hopes but lost before Caucus Day.

“Presidential candidates are scrutinized exponentially more than even large state governors,” Woolson added. “They fall apart under that scrutiny, and it remains to be seen whether (DeSantis) does too.”

Campaign staff advises against peaking too soon.

Early interest helps candidates raise funds, gain attention, and stand out. DeSantis’ campaign earned $8.2 million in the first 24 hours, surpassing Trump and President Joe Biden’s 2019 record.

The fascination may also weaken inexperienced candidates who aren’t ready for the media and Iowa caucusgoers’ intensive scrutiny at such an early stage.

Des Moines Democratic operative Norm Sterzenbach handled Beto O’Rourke’s 2020 Iowa caucus campaign. O’Rourke challenged U.S. Sen. Ted Cruz for the Texas Senate seat with a nationwide following that overloaded his initial visit to Iowa and created a deluge of scathing reports.

Sterzenbach claimed the campaign was unprepared.

“If it happens right out of the gate like Beto,” he remarked. “Because a lot of your voters, donors, and the people you’re really trying to get in front of don’t have a preconceived notion of who you are, other than the hype. Hype is unreachable. Not you. You’re not that person, so they learn that first.

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