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GOP candidates campaign in the cold for Iowa Caucuses

GOP candidates campaign in the Iowa cold
GOP candidates campaign in the Iowa cold 03:00

CHICAGO (CBS) -- The first votes of the 2024 presidential election get underway in a matter of hours with the Iowa Caucuses.

Voters will have to brave blowing snow and subzero temperatures to make their choice.

The latest Des Moines Register poll shows former president Donald Trump with a huge lead in Iowa. He's the pick for 69% of likely GOP voters.

Ron Desantis and Nikki Haley are in a fight for a distant second place.

CBS 2's Chris Tye reports from Des Moines where the caucus format could still change some minds.

Voters listen to last-minute stumping at Iowa Caucuses 03:10

Iowans have a way of throwing curveballs and it's that race for second place that may be the thing to watch for most closely.

Haley and DeSantis pressed the flesh in these final few hours.

Nikki Haley at a diner near Drake University this morning In DesMoines and in larger Iowa cities, she needs a strong turnout. Those are her core voters.

She's stumping to win but coming in second may do the trick because of what it might mean for the future of this man's campaign.

Ron DeSantis has put all his political eggs in the Iowa basket. He's been to all 99 counties and spent the most time and money here.

If he ends tonight in third place it is hard to see a pathway forward for the Florida governor. 

Illinois Governor JB Pritzker was in Iowa Monday as a surrogate for the Biden-Harris campaign. He said all three front runners are all the same just in different packaging. 

"Tonight's contest is simply a question of whether you like your MAGA-Trump agenda wrapped in the original packaging or with high heels or with lifts in their boots," Pritzker said. "Instead their real decision will be made in the general election where the stakes couldn't be higher.

GOP candidates make their pitch at Iowa Caucuses 02:42

The weather is a massive factor. Most expect it to most adversely impact the Trump team, whose supporters are older and more likely to stay home. 

Caucusing starts at 7 pm and remember it's a Republican-only affair this year as the Democrats are not caucusing for president in Iowa Monday night saying Iowa isn't reflective of the country and is not the right place to kick things off.

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