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Trump strains for Grassley in tighter-than-expected Iowa Senate race, but all eyes are on 2024


With Election Day five days away and Iowa Sen. Chuck Grassley facing a tougher-than-expected challenge from Democratic Senate candidate and former Admiral Mike Franken, the longest-serving Republican in the chamber receives a helping hand from former President Trump.

Trump, who nearly two years after his 2020 election loss to current President Biden remains the GOP’s most popular and influential politician, will headline a Thursday night rally for Grassley and Republican Gov. Kim Reynolds, who according to the latest public opinion polls, appears to be heading for re-election against Democratic challenger and businesswoman Deidre DeJear.

The rally is taking place in Sioux City, a heavily red-hot part of northwest Iowa, where increased turnout will be crucial for Grassley to offset potential shortfalls in other parts of the state.

“He’s definitely going to the right part of the state, the heavily Republican northwest of Iowa,” longtime GOP consultant David Kochel, a veteran of Iowa’s political campaigns, told Fox News. . “In an election where it looks like the Republicans are really finishing strong, you can’t take anything for granted.”

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Senator Chuck Grassley during a Fox News interview at former President Trump’s rally in Des Moines, Iowa on October 9, 2021
(FoxNews)

Kochel said the former president’s apparent goal “is to light up the base and drive participation in northwest Iowa. That’s probably good for Grassley, who I think has a little underperformed with the Republicans. It’s good for him that Trump comes in to pull the crowd and get people out.

“Trump is most effective when he goes to places where he’s really popular and able to pull people in and build excitement,” Kochel noted.

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The former president, who has crisscrossed the country for more than a year, has picked up the pace in recent weeks, hosting a slew of rallies for Trump-backed Republican candidates running in competitive Senate, House and for governor in the midterm elections.

Trump strains for Grassley in tighter-than-expected Iowa Senate race, but all eyes are on 2024

Former President Trump reacts after his speech at a rally at the Iowa States Fairgrounds in Des Moines, Iowa on October 9, 2021
(REUTERS/Rachel Mummey/File Photo)

However, unlike his other rallies, the shutdown in Iowa – the state whose caucuses for half a century have kicked off the presidential nomination calendar – is sure to spark more speculation about a possible Trump 2024 race in the White House.

Since the end of his administration in January 2021, Trump has repeatedly flirted with launching another presidential campaign, and he may make an announcement in the days or weeks following the midterms.

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Fox News confirmed on Wednesday that among Trump’s political staff, discussions are ongoing about possible locations and dates for a possible official announcement from the former president.

Trump came second to Sen. Ted Cruz in the Iowa caucuses in 2016, but he easily won the presidential election that year and again in 2020. He has stopped repeatedly in the Iowa during his tenure in the White House and returned in October of last year when he held a large rally at the Iowa State Fairgrounds in Des Moines where he showed his admiration for Hawkeye State .

Trump strains for Grassley in tighter-than-expected Iowa Senate race, but all eyes are on 2024

Former Vice President Mike Pence headlines the annual Kaufmann Family Harvest Dinner, September 29, 2022 in Wilton, Iowa. The event drew Republican officials, politicians, leaders and activists.
(AP)

However, Trump is far from the only potential 2024 Republican presidential candidate to have visited Iowa in the past year and a half. Former Vice President Mike Pence, former Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, former Governor of South Carolina and former Ambassador to the United Nations Nikki Haley senses. Arkansas’ Tom Cotton and Texas’ Ted Cruz are among possible White House hopefuls who have made multiple trips to Iowa.

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“We got a lot of interest from a lot of people,” Kochel noted.

Kochel added that for Trump, it’s “probably smart to come and plant a flag in the ground… It certainly won’t hurt looking at the opening act of the 2024 primary process.”


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