Former president Donald Trump had to cancel his Iowa event due to a tornado warning, but Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis reportedly made his bid in the state by pitching a return to "sanity" and "normalcy" to an audience that was open-minded if not eager to abandon Trump in the primary.
Trump was unable to have his own rally, but, for his part, DeSantis attended Republican Rep. Randy Feenstra’s annual family picnic in the city of Sioux Center, the most conservative corner of the state, according to CNN, which reported that Trump received 82% of the county's vote in 2020.
"In his remarks, DeSantis rattled off the conservative policy victories he pushed through Florida’s recently concluded legislative session but included a warning for his party while hinting at a possible presidential announcement," the network reported.
“If we make 2024 a referendum on Joe Biden and his failures and we provide a positive alternative for the future of this country, Republicans will win across the board,” DeSantis said, according to CNN. “If we do not do that, if we get distracted, if we focus on the election in the past or on other side issues, then I think the Democrats are going to beat us again, and I think it will be very difficult to recover from that defeat.”
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Without mentioning Trump by name, DeSantis reportedly pushed for “sanity,” “normalcy,” “integrity,” and “truth” in policy decisions.
CNN further reported that numerous attendees of the event told the network they were actively considering options other than Trump for the GOP primary.
"Trump’s name went unmentioned throughout Saturday’s program in Sioux Center, and several attendees told CNN they were open-minded, if not eager, for an alternative in 2024," the network noted.