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DeSantis Mobilizes Iowa Supporters Amid Nikki Haley’s Rising Popularity

Haley Gains Momentum, DeSantis Mobilizes Support

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Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis is intensifying his campaign efforts in Iowa as former South Carolina Gov. Nikki Haley gains momentum in the presidential race. To counter this, DeSantis is enlisting the help of South Carolina state Sen. Josh Kimbrell, a conservative lawmaker who shares DeSantis’s legislative priorities.

Former Constituent Joins DeSantis in Iowa

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Kimbrell, known for championing contentious laws in South Carolina similar to those favored by DeSantis, will join the Florida governor for campaign stops in Iowa. His role is to provide a perspective from the Palmetto State on Nikki Haley, offering a counter-narrative to her leadership.

Kimbrell Criticizes Haley’s Record

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Senator Kimbrell expressed skepticism about Haley’s conservative accomplishments during her tenure as governor, stating, “I can’t point to any significant conservative accomplishment in her tenure.” He raises questions about Haley’s stance on key issues and highlights what he sees as a gap between her actions and rhetoric.

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DeSantis’s Closing Pitch and Change Agent Image

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As DeSantis faces challenges from both Trump loyalists and Haley supporters, his closing pitch emphasizes being a “change agent.” He aims to distinguish himself from the Trump era and establishment Republicans, presenting a vision of structural change, including term limits and decentralizing federal agencies.

Super PAC Targets Haley’s Record

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DeSantis’s campaign deploys a super PAC, Fight Right, to counter Haley’s rise. Instead of targeting Trump directly, the super PAC focuses on criticizing Haley’s record as governor. This strategic shift reflects the campaign’s effort to address challenges from both Trump and Haley.

Haley’s Response to Attacks

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Haley’s campaign dismisses the attacks, highlighting her conservative accomplishments, including signing voter ID laws and cracking down on illegal immigration. Spokeswoman Nachama Soloveichik accuses DeSantis of resorting to “desperate, lame attacks,” suggesting a heightened level of competition.

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Kimbrell’s Background and Past Connections

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Senator Kimbrell and Haley have a history dating back to her tenure as governor when he hosted a Christian talk radio show. Despite a past incident in 2014, where Kimbrell faced legal issues, he downplays the personal history, emphasizing his concerns about Haley’s policy inconsistencies.

Polling Dynamics and Haley’s Popularity in South Carolina

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While Trump maintains a lead in South Carolina, Haley consistently polls ahead of DeSantis in her home state. A November poll from Winthrop University indicates a 71% favorable view of Haley among South Carolina Republicans, illustrating her significant support base.

DeSantis’s Alliances on the Campaign Trail

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DeSantis deploys several allies, including Senator Kimbrell, to bolster his campaign in the critical early nominating states. The presence of prominent figures like Gov. Kim Reynolds and Rep. Thomas Massie underscores the multifaceted effort to secure support and counter competitors.

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Massie’s Contradictory Remarks on DeSantis’s Chances

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While Rep. Thomas Massie joins DeSantis in Iowa, his recent remarks suggesting that the DeSantis campaign doesn’t expect to win Iowa or New Hampshire raise questions. Massie emphasizes the importance of over-performing to challenge assumptions about the campaign’s prospects.

Super PAC Seizes on Contradictory Statements

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A super PAC supporting Haley seizes on Massie’s comments, accusing DeSantis’s campaign of “trying to move the goalposts.” The contradiction in statements highlights the complexity and uncertainty surrounding DeSantis’s strategy and expectations in the early nominating contests.

The Closing Battle in Iowa

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As DeSantis faces a two-front battle against Trump loyalists and Haley supporters, the final days leading to the Iowa caucuses become critical. The outcome will determine whether DeSantis’s efforts to reclaim momentum are successful or if challenges persist as he navigates a competitive Republican primary.

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