(Bloomberg) -- Iowa Governor Kim Reynolds will endorse Florida Governor Ron DeSantis for the Republican presidential nomination at a rally in Des Moines on Monday, according to people familiar with the plans.
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An endorsement by the popular governor would be a win for DeSantis, who has struggled to maintain early momentum as former President Donald Trump built a wide lead among Republican contenders ahead of the Iowa caucuses coming up on Jan. 15. On Wednesday, 2024 GOP candidates face off in their third debate in Miami.
Reynolds showed a preference for DeSantis for some time while stopping short of a formal endorsement, though people close to her said in September she would eventually back him.
Read more: Iowa Governor Moves Toward Endorsing DeSantis in Blow to Trump
Reynolds joined DeSantis on the campaign trail and sat with him at an Iowa football game over the summer. NBC News reported the timing of her planned endorsement earlier Sunday. A spokesperson for Reynolds declined to comment.
Dan Eberhart, a DeSantis donor, said Reynolds’ backing will “propel” the Florida governor in Iowa by giving “Trump voters a permission slip to consider Governor DeSantis.”
“When we look back, this will be the inflection point where the race became a two-person race,” Eberhart said in an interview.
DeSantis’ support in Iowa slipped to about 17% in October from 28% in May, according to a RealClearPolitics average of polls.
Read more: Trump Takes Aim at DeSantis in Distance Duel at Iowa State Fair
Trump has taken swipes at Reynolds since the summer. He ignored her request to be interviewed in a fireside chat at the Iowa State Fair in August, a snub that angered some high-profile Iowa politicians and left the two on an uncertain footing.
Trump derided Reynolds and DeSantis in a post on his Truth Social platform on Sunday, saying that her endorsement of his rival contender “will be the end of her political career.”
--With assistance from Jennifer Jacobs.
(Updates with Trump reaction in last paragraph.)
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