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Where Ron DeSantis stands ahead of the Iowa caucuses

Iowa will prove critical in whether the Florida governor can cement himself as a viable Republican candidate for the presidency.
Where Ron DeSantis stands ahead of the Iowa caucuses
Posted at 9:43 AM, Jan 15, 2024

Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis won reelection in 2022 by such a landslide that it was the largest margin of victory in 40 years in the state. He framed his campaign as a battle against the "woke agenda" of liberals, and it helped create a dramatically different result than the first time around.

In 2018, DeSantis barely beat Democratic challenger Andrew Gillum. The initial margin of less than 0.5% triggered an automatic recount and despite three counties missing the recount deadline, DeSantis was declared the winner.

SEE MORE: What matters more: Iowa or New Hampshire?

In his first term as governor, DeSantis gained national attention during the COVID-19 pandemic, being vocally against lockdowns, mask mandates and vaccines. But his huge reelection win gave him the kind of national attention that made him a viable contender for the Republican presidential nomination.

DeSantis launched his campaign in May 2023 with Elon Musk on Twitter. And what looked like an innovative idea became a disastrous announcement riddled with glitches.

SEE MORE: How seriously do Iowans take their 'first-in-the-nation' status?

Since then, despite putting a significant amount of money into campaigning in Iowa, DeSantis has struggled, losing major donors and campaign staffers. Since November, at least six top campaign officials have either quit or been fired, leaving DeSantis in danger of falling far short of expectations.

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