Iowa caucus: Ron DeSantis clinches second in Iowa - Hindustan Times
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Iowa caucus: Ron DeSantis clinches second spot, sets sights on South Carolina and New Hampshire

Jan 16, 2024 12:08 PM IST

Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis defies expectations with a strong second-place finish in the Iowa caucus, vowing not to let supporters down.

On Monday night, Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis spoke to his supporters after securing the second spot in the Iowa caucus, trailing behind former President Donald Trump. He claimed that he had “his ticket punched out of Iowa.”

Florida Governor and Republican presidential candidate Ron DeSantis gestures on stage at his Iowa caucus watch party in West Des Moines, Iowa, U.S., January 15, 2024. REUTERS/Brendan McDermid(REUTERS)
Florida Governor and Republican presidential candidate Ron DeSantis gestures on stage at his Iowa caucus watch party in West Des Moines, Iowa, U.S., January 15, 2024. REUTERS/Brendan McDermid(REUTERS)

He said that his opponents had tried everything to stop him, spending nearly $15 million on negative ads and prematurely declaring the winner before the voting was over.

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He added, “I am not going to make any excuses, and I guarantee you this: I will not let you down.”

The Florida Gov. defied the polls that had him in third place behind Trump and Nikki Haley. He managed to get the runner-up position, while Trump won by a huge margin.

One of his prominent supporters, evangelical leader Bob Vander Plaats, said that DeSantis had earned the right to continue his campaign. He said, “you punch two tickets” out of Iowa.

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DeSantis was confident with Iowa result

DeSantis had been confident of his chances in Iowa, citing his strong ground game and organization. He had visited every county in the state and engaged in grassroots campaigning to win over voters.

He did not let the harsh weather conditions deter him, as he held multiple events every day over the weekend. He hoped that his loyal supporters would turn out for him in the caucus, despite the low turnout.

He kept reaching out to voters until the last minute, visiting various caucus sites. He expressed his optimism and said he was glad that people saw him as an “underdog.”

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DeSantis’ campaign accused the media of interfering in the election by announcing Trump’s victory before the polls closed. His Communications Director Andrew Romeo said in a statement, “It is absolutely outrageous that the media would participate in election interference by calling the race before tens of thousands of Iowans even had a chance to vote. The media is in the tank for Trump and this is the most egregious example yet.”

DeSantis pledged to keep fighting in the next states and planned to fly to South Carolina, Haley’s home state, on Tuesday morning. He would then head to New Hampshire in the afternoon.

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