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Former Vice President Mike Pence, left, and Iowa Sen. Joni Ernst, right, rides motorcycles.
Full Field of 2024 Republican Candidates and potential competitors – Minus the front runner — descended on Iowa on Saturday for a fundraiser for veterans that featured a motorcycle ride and barbecue while engaging with politically plugged-in voters in the first state on the GOP nominating calendar.
When former Vice President Mike Pence, clad in leather, rode by on a motorcycle, he and Iowa Sen. Joni Ernst, host of the annual “Roast and Ride” rally, led hundreds of riders to the Iowa State Fairgrounds in Des Moines.
Retail politics were heating up at fair-price stores. Florida First Lady Casey DeSantis, Wife of Newly Announced 2024 Candidate Ron DeSantisThey signed hats, took photos with voters and got on a tractor with their two children.
Ex President Donald Trump His absence came two days after he made several campaign appearances in the state and participated in a Fox News town hall with Iowa voters. But DeSantis, former United Nations ambassador Nikki Haley, South Carolina Sen. All the other leading candidates, including Tim Scott and former Arkansas governor Asa Hutchinson, made public appeals for support.
Like Trump and DeSantis escalating their ongoing enmityThe Florida governor took some veiled shots at his rival on Saturday, arguing that “leadership is entertainment” or “building a brand” and that the Republican Party needs to “abandon the culture of losing.”
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Florida Governor Ron DeSantis poses with Roast and Ride participants on June 3, 2023 in Des Moines.
DeSantis also doubled down on him Conflict with entertainment giant DisneyHe acknowledged some Republican concerns about his targeting of a private business.
“We stand for the safety of our children. We will wage war against anyone who seeks to take away their innocence, and on those principles, I will not compromise. Here I stand,” DeSantis said.
Ernst’s eighth annual roast-and-ride event was attended by nearly all of the 2024 GOP contenders, demonstrating his influence within the party — in Washington, where he is the fourth-highest-ranking Republican senator, and in Iowa, where a strong performance in one of the caucuses is building critical momentum for presidential hopefuls.
Ernst said Saturday that he believes voters are focusing on the future as they begin to gauge the party’s field of candidates.
“I know President Trump has a great foundation here. It’s strong, but at the same time, we don’t want to hear what happened in the past because two years of the Biden administration is destroying our nation,” the senator told CNN. “So they want to know what the future decisions are that will turn our country around and who is going to lead us forward.”
Ernst, who is unlikely to endorse a candidate in the race, stressed that Trump is not governing for voters, but said voters are “keen to hear about the future.”
Pence said Wednesday he would “announce in Iowa” on Saturday Expected to launch His presidential campaign. The former vice president was a 2024 hopeful who took part in a motorcycle ride from the Big Barn Harley-Davidson dealership in Des Moines to the fairgrounds to kick off the rally.
“I believe that as conservatives, men and women, you have a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to shape the leadership of this party like never before,” Pence said.
Hayley, who will be Participating in a CNN Town Hall in Iowa On Sunday, he spoke about the importance of state caucuses on the primary calendar.
“If you don’t play this caucus, don’t complain about what you get in the general. Because it’s important,” she said. “I think we’ve done over 25 events. I’m going to keep coming. I’m not taking shortcuts. I’m not going to rally and leave you,” he said.
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Former United Nations Ambassador Nikki Haley speaks to guests on June 3, 2023 in Des Moines.
Haley’s husband, Michael Haley, was with the South Carolina Army National Guard in Africa in the coming weeks for a roast and ride event.
Scott, who Among the best-funded GOP hopefulsJustified his candidacy.
“I scare the dickens out of the far left and Joe Biden — the proof of my life — destroys their lies,” said the lone black Republican in the U.S. Senate.
The roast and ride event kicks off a summer of “cattle calls” — large gatherings of Republicans in early voting states on the primary calendar — where presidential candidates gather for opportunities to woo activists and voters and build support for their campaigns.
Many of the same 2024 hopefuls Spring Kickoff of the Iowa Faith and Freedom Coalition It’s April, but most have yet to officially launch their campaigns.
This story has been updated with additional information.