South Carolina Senator Tim Scott was shaking hands and photographing an eastern Iowa Republican at Cedar Rapids Country Club last week when voting in Iowa ended less than 48 hours later.
Scott, one of several Republicans pondering a run for president, is hardly an island unto himself.
At least a half-dozen Republican presidential contenders are planning a summer tour of Iowa to promote themselves and the state Republican organization ahead of the midterm elections. But the travels are actually about creating ties and learning about the political landscape in the state, which is preparing to kick off the party’s nomination process for 2024.
While potential presidential contenders have been in Iowa for over a year, the upcoming wave of visits ushers in a new phase of the ritual. Republicans vying for the White House can now move on without fear of inflaming Iowa’s intraparty strife, thanks to the state’s June 7 primary.
Former UN Ambassador Nikki Haley is also set to arrive later this month, with intentions to campaign alongside Republican candidates for the congressman in a little over two days.
Democrats Who Want To Run for President Have Largely Ignored Iowa
With Joe Biden in the White House, Democrats with presidential aspirations have mainly avoided the state. Bernie Sanders, the Vermont independent who won the Democratic presidential primaries in 2016 and was the final candidate to drop out, was in southeastern the state on Friday gathering support for United autoworkers striking at CNH agricultural machinery. Sanders’ itinerary, which included a stop in southeastern Wisconsin, fuelled rumors that the 80-year-old would run for president a third time. Sanders’ advisers have maintained that his plans have not changed if Biden stands for re-election.
Former Vice President Mike Pence was on the phone that day, even before Scott arrived, to discuss the primaries and the summer ahead with President Kaufman and Steve Schaeffler, Iowa’s Republican National Committeeman, he recalled.
Pence is contemplating a July trip to Iowa, according to a senior staffer to the former vice president, though the date has yet to be confirmed.
Florida Governor Ron DeSantis, for example, is not on the schedule.