Updated Nov 6, 2023 - Politics & Policy

Iowa Gov. Kim Reynolds endorses DeSantis

Ron DeSantis, governor of Florida, right, with Kim Reynolds, governor of Iowa, during a Freedom Blueprint event in Des Moines, Iowa, US, on Friday, March 10, 2023.

Ron DeSantis with Kim Reynolds during a Freedom Blueprint event in Des Moines, Iowa, on March 10. Photo: Kathryn Gamble/Bloomberg via Getty Images

Iowa Gov. Kim Reynolds endorsed Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis on Monday in the 2024 Republican presidential primary.

Why it matters: It's a big win for DeSantis, who has been aggressively campaigning in Iowa since he launched is presidential bid, as he trails former President Trump in the race for the GOP nomination.

Driving the news: "I believe [Trump] can't win," Reynolds told NBC News in a joint interview with DeSantis, adding, "and I believe that Ron can."

  • "And that's a big reason I got behind him," Reynolds said.
  • "Not only do we need to make sure that we elect someone who can win and beat Joe Biden, we need a president who has the skill and the resolve to reverse the madness that we see every single day," Reynolds said at a campaign rally for DeSantis Monday.
  • "That leader is Ron DeSantis," she added.

Zoom in: DeSantis has bet big on Iowa, saying that he will visit all 99 counties in the state. (So far he has hit 87 counties, NBC News reports).

  • A poll out last month showed former UN ambassador Nikki Haley and DeSantis tied in Iowa at 16%.
  • Trump had 43% in the NBC News/Des Moines Register/Mediacom poll of likely Iowa caucus goers.

The big picture: Reynolds' endorsement is a change from earlier in the cycle, when she said that she wanted to remain neutral in the Republican primary, a move that is line with previous governors of the first-in-nation caucuses.

  • Trump criticized Reynolds for not endorsing in the crowded primary.

Between the lines: Trump already lashed out at Reynolds over her anticipated endorsement of DeSantis, saying that it will be the "the end of her political career," according to a post on Truth Social.

  • The Des Moines Register first reported on Reynolds' plans to endorse DeSantis.

Go deeper: Inside DeSantis' push for footing in Iowa

Editor's note: This article has been updated with Iowa Gov. Kim Reynolds' comments at a rally for Gov. Ron DeSantis on Monday.

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