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Former President Trump Complicates His Election-Winning Chances After Attack on Governor

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According to a report by NBC News on July 12, former President Donald Trump is taking a calculated risk by targeting Iowa Governor Kim Reynolds, a popular and influential figure in the state that holds the first GOP presidential primary. Trump’s recent criticism of Reynolds for her neutrality in the 2024 primary process could potentially backfire, opening doors for viable challengers to gain early momentum.

While Trump performed well in Iowa during the 2016 caucuses and eventually secured the GOP nomination, his underwhelming performance in the state in 2024 could pose challenges for his candidacy this time around.

Trump’s criticism of Reynolds stems from her recent appearances with Florida Governor Ron DeSantis and his wife, Casey DeSantis, which seemed to have triggered the former president.

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Using his social media platform, Truth Social, Trump criticized Reynolds for her neutrality, a move characteristic of the former president, who highly values loyalty.

However, this strategy has left some in Iowa perplexed and may further alienate voters who were already considering alternative candidates for the upcoming caucus.

Reynolds had previously expressed her intention to remain neutral in the 2024 primary to create an inclusive environment for all candidates. Trump’s criticism of her has drawn backlash from Iowa conservatives, with Bob Vander Plaats, head of The Family Leader, a major conservative group in Iowa, expressing his disagreement on Twitter.

Reynolds, who has established herself as a strong political figure in her own right, easily won re-election last year and has signed bills restricting abortion access and transgender rights.

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Critics view Trump’s criticism of Reynolds as an undisciplined move that could potentially harm his prospects, particularly among voters seeking fresh and inspiring leadership.

Trump’s unconventional approach to campaigning in Iowa adds to the risks he is taking. While he has held multiple rallies in the state this year, he has not attended major events for presidential candidates, such as Joni Ernst’s “Roast and Ride” and chose to address a gathering of evangelicals virtually rather than in person.

In contrast, other candidates like Ron DeSantis and former Vice President Mike Pence have invested significant time and resources in Iowa, recognizing the importance of performing well in the state to build early momentum and garner support from voters seeking an alternative to Trump.

Trump’s campaign strategy in Iowa echoes his unconventional approach in 2016, favoring larger events over traditional door-to-door campaigning. This time, while continuing to hold large rallies to generate enthusiasm, Trump has also increased ground staffing to solidify his standing among caucus-going voters.

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While national polls consistently show Trump with a double-digit lead over DeSantis and other primary candidates, Iowa-specific polls have been scarce, and the number of voters definitively supporting Trump as the nominee has decreased since last year.

Experts caution against relying solely on polls for the caucus, which is known for its unpredictability.

Trump’s criticism of Reynolds and his unique campaign strategy in Iowa reflect his determination to maintain dominance within the party. However, these decisions carry risks, as they could alienate voters and create opportunities for his rivals.

As the Iowa caucus approaches, it remains to be seen how Trump’s approach will impact his chances and whether an alternative candidate can seize the opportunity to gain early traction in the primary calendar.

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