Trump Increases Campaign Efforts in Iowa as Caucuses Approach


As the Iowa caucuses loom nearer, Donald Trump is ramping up his campaign efforts in the Hawkeye State, aiming to solidify his position and prevent any potential rivals from gaining ground.

Simultaneously, Trump is adjusting his messaging and campaign stops to target the broader audience of general election voters, should he secure the nomination.

On Wednesday, the former president addressed a "Team Trump Iowa Commit to Caucus Event" held at the Jackson County Fairgrounds in Maquoketa, Iowa. He then proceeded to Dubuque, another city in Eastern Iowa, to deliver his remarks.

In Dubuque, Trump predominantly centered his speech on immigration and border security. While he occasionally mentioned Florida Governor Ron DeSantis, his primary focus was on criticizing President Joe Biden for what he termed a "nation-wrecking catastrophe" at the southern border, characterizing it as "an invasion."

Trump also praised his immigration policies during his tenure, asserting that he replaced "catch-and-release" with a policy of "detain and deport." He further claimed that Mexico funded the border wall by providing the U.S. with border personnel at no cost.

In the event of his re-election, Trump pledged to execute the most extensive domestic deportation operation in American history, citing the Alien Enemies Act to expel known or suspected gang members, drug dealers, and cartel affiliates from the country.

Additionally, Trump promised to reinstate and expand his travel ban, without specifying the details, and stated that it would bar "communists and Marxists" from entering the U.S.

This week's pivot marks Trump's eighth visit to the state, a notably lower number compared to many of his GOP competitors. Trump, alongside several other presidential contenders, recently attended the Iowa State vs. Iowa football game and made an appearance at the Iowa State Fair in August. He also participated in two Iowa town halls hosted by Fox News anchor Sean Hannity and organized smaller events with grassroots activists and religious leaders.

Trump's heightened presence in the state aligns with increased activity from MAGA Inc., the super PAC supporting his presidential campaign. The super PAC allocated over $700,000 for new ad bookings last week to expand its airtime in crucial Iowa media markets. Until now, the group had primarily focused its advertising budget on national campaigns via cable networks.

While Trump maintains a significant lead over the 2024 GOP primary field in national polls, his campaign is intensifying its efforts in Iowa to "suffocate the competition," as noted by a Trump advisor in an earlier statement to CNN. Following Wednesday's trip, the former president plans four additional visits to the state in October.

Jimmy Centers, a seasoned Republican operative, commented, "Former President Trump’s campaign is leaving nothing to chance here. They feel as though they have Gov. DeSantis and others on the ropes, and they’re trying to put their boot on the necks of the collective alternatives to the former president."

However, Centers cautioned that there are Iowans exploring alternatives, emphasizing the importance of seizing the moment for any potential contenders.

Despite efforts by Trump's rivals, such as DeSantis and Senator Tim Scott, to make inroads in Iowa, it is increasingly evident that the path to victory in the primary requires engaging directly with Trump's influence and base.

Doug Heye, a Republican strategist and CNN political commentator, stated, "It’s a realization that other strategies have not worked... This nomination – and this was always plain to see to anyone who wanted to see it – was always going to go through Donald Trump. It was never going to go around him."