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“GOP Presidential Race Heats Up
Republican White House contenders are returning to the state at the end of this week, dominating the calendar, with just four months until the Iowa caucuses. for GOP presidential nominations. Presidential candidates are addressing the annual fall feast of Iowa Faith and Freedom Coalition on Saturday evening, as they make their case before a large and influential crowd that plays a significant role in Hawkeye State Republican politics.
Longtime Iowa-based Republican strategist and communicator, Jimmy Centers, stated, ‘Labor Day has come and gone. Kids are back in school, and people are truly starting to engage in this. Following the Iowa State Fair last month, where Republican presidential hopefuls made an appealing pitch to voters across the large field of contenders, Centers said, ‘The state fair was the moment when people started waking up and felt that the caucus was coming closer.’
Veteran Iowa Republican operative and consultant, Nicole Schlinger, shed light on this, saying, ‘Once Labor Day is behind us, schools have started, and the weather begins to change, that’s when people’s attention starts turning towards the elections, and people become more serious about examining the candidates.’
The kickoff to the 2024 Republican primary and caucus calendar is rapidly approaching, with former President Donald Trump emerging as a formidable contender for his party’s nomination, as he seeks entry to the White House for a potential third term. And his four historic impeachment charges – two of which were ostensibly aimed at overturning his defeat in the 2020 election against President Biden – have bolstered his support among potential Republican primary voters.
In the latest Fox News national survey of GOP nomination contenders, conducted September 9-12 and released Thursday, Trump signaled expanding his lead in the rest of the field. Nevertheless, his lead in Iowa, along with New Hampshire and South Carolina, the three early voting states in the Republican nomination calendar, isn’t as substantial.
Longtime Republican strategist and experienced campaigner in multiple GOP presidential campaigns at both Iowa and national levels, David Kochel, noted, ‘Iowa, New Hampshire, and South Carolina are close nationally, but not that close. These things take time to percolate. There are a lot of things we haven’t seen or heard yet. Whether it’s a test of Trump, which I don’t think there will be a significant change against him, or a future debate, or something we can’t predict now.’
Schlinger, who is well-connected within the evangelical conservative community, praised Trump’s ‘strong record on life-related issues,’ and when it comes to his high approval ratings among Republicans, she said, ‘It’s not surprising that there hasn’t been much change.’ Iowa’s caucuses are all about numbers.
However, she went on to say, ‘I think there’s an opening in Iowa for one or two other candidates to perform well and outperform expectations… The door is open, butIt needs to be crossed by someone, but that hasn’t happened yet.
All the strategists emphasized that it’s time for Trump’s rivals to step up. Kochel pointed out, ‘This is where the rubber meets the road. We’re past Labor Day. We’re in the debate phase. If you’re not hitting all cylinders right now, and you don’t have the money to see your way through New Hampshire, it’s probably best to step aside so we can really assess who can take on Trump head-on.’
Centers noted, ‘It’s not a primary season yet. It takes organization. You need to organize events, use those events to build your organization, and then connect with the people you’ve recruited, whether that’s door-knocking or phone banking, to build a strong organization.’
He emphasized, ‘It doesn’t happen on its own. If you’re not starting it now, it’s very late.'”
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