'All In' in Iowa, DeSantis Will Soon Complete the 'Full Grassley'

Florida governor will soon finish touring every one of the state's 99 counties
By Evann Gastaldo,  Newser Staff
Posted Nov 28, 2023 1:00 AM CST
DeSantis, 'All In' in Iowa, Will Soon Complete the 'Full Grassley'
Republican presidential candidate Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis arrives at the Family Leader's Thanksgiving Family Forum, Friday, Nov. 17, 2023, in Des Moines, Iowa.   (AP Photo/Charlie Neibergall)

Ron DeSantis has been campaigning his way through Iowa's counties, nabbing Iowa Gov. Kim Reynolds' endorsement in the process, and he'll complete his tour of all 99 counties on December 2 with an event at the "Thunderdome," sources tell CBS News. The feat is known as the "full Grassley," as it was Sen. Chuck Grassley of Iowa who first toured every single county in the state, and has continued doing it for the past four decades. Former Sen. Rick Santorum, who won the Iowa caucus in 2012, and Sen. Ted Cruz, who won in 2016, also completed the full Grassley; DeSantis is the only nominee who's committed to doing so this time around. Experts tell Fox News DeSantis is clearly "all in" in the state, despite the fact that former President Trump continues to lead by at least 30 points in polls.

"This is the equivalent of a Hail Mary," one of those analysts says. "It could work like when John McCain went all in in New Hampshire in 2008, and he shocked the political world by emerging as the nominee. Barack Obama did the same thing in 2008 in Iowa when he was going up against Hillary Clinton when he went Iowa or bust." But whether DeSantis can pull it off is less clear, and whether the Florida governor can make anything resembling a comeback if he doesn't pull it off is doubtful, according to some of the analysts who spoke to Fox. The caucuses will be held January 15.

Trump has made just 17 campaign stops in Iowa compared to DeSantis' 130, though, and some analysts note that in Iowa, in-person campaigning is particularly important. "Cruz was only at 10% at this point of the race in 2016," DeSantis' communications director says. "That's a good reminder of how Iowa traditionally breaks late, which is exactly when you will begin to see the dividends of the historic ground organization we have built in the state." Meanwhile, Nikki Haley, who has been battling it out with DeSantis for second place in the Iowa polls, believes if she can make a strong showing in Iowa she'll easily best DeSantis in New Hampshire and South Carolina, becoming the clear alternative to Trump, the New York Times reports. (More Election 2024 stories.)

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