Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis (R) speaks with Iowa Gov. Kim Reynolds (R) during a campaign rally on Nov. 6 in Des Moines, Iowa.
Iowa Gov. Kim Reynolds said she’s endorsing Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis, a fellow Republican, for president, because she doesn’t believe former President Donald Trump can win against President Joe Biden.
“I believe he can’t win, and I believe Ron can,” Reynolds told NBC News on Monday.
In a rare move for an Iowa governor, Reynolds endorsed DeSantis Monday. She had previously said she would stay neutral in the primary, as the state’s governors tend to do, but Reynolds told NBC on Monday that the race is too important for her to remain on the sidelines.
The winner of the Iowa caucus can get a decent momentum boost in the primary, but it’s hardly predictive of the eventual GOP nominee. Trump famously lost the 2016 Iowa caucuses to Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Texas) before ultimately clinching the nomination.
But the endorsement of a top Iowa Republican is still a major win for DeSantis, whose campaign has struggled to gain traction against Trump despite high hopes from Republicans early on — and despite Trump’s litany of legal issues.
“We have too much at stake. I truly believe [DeSantis] is the right person to get this country back on track,” Reynolds said.
DeSantis, a distant second to Trump in polling, has invested significant resources in winning Iowa’s first-in-the-nation caucuses, moving campaign staffers from Florida to Iowa ahead of the Jan. 15 contest.
Reynolds’ views on Trump’s chances notwithstanding, a New York Times/Siena College survey released Sunday showed Trump polling ahead of Biden in five key battleground states.
Reynolds’ relationship with DeSantis has angered Trump, who called her the nation’s “most unpopular governor” in a Truth Social rant following the endorsement. Reynolds said she hasn’t spoken recently with the former president.
“I assume it’s — well, I don’t know,” Reynolds said when asked about the status of their relationship. “I really can’t tell you. That’s probably a question for him.”