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Trump, potential VP pick and former actress swarm Iowa ahead of caucuses

Candidates make final push before Iowa caucus
Republican candidates make final push ahead of Iowa caucuses 05:04

Former President Donald Trump is relying on a potential running mate, a former TV actress and one of his sons to stump for him in Iowa as his campaign tries to blanket the state with events ahead of the Iowa caucuses

The surrogates — featuring South Dakota Gov. Kristi Noem, Roseanne Barr and Eric Trump — are a part of a larger campaign effort to invigorate Trump's base of caucus-goers across the Hawkeye State and ensure they'll turn out for Trump on Jan. 15 in the first 2024 presidential nominating contest

"We know that we have the votes," said Trump campaign senior adviser Jason Miller. "We just have to turn them out, and we're gonna be using every method available to us to ensure that we do that." 

Trump's Iowa schedule

The former president will appear at more Iowa campaign events in the first two weeks of January than in the last 2 ½ months combined. Trump, who has led every Iowa poll by double digits for months, visited the state only nine times in the last 90 days. 

He is expected to host eight "commit to caucus" events that will take place as far west as Sioux City and as far east as Clinton, which is on the border of Illinois. Trump currently plans to hold his final pre-caucus event in Cherokee on the eve of the caucuses on Jan. 14, and plans to remain in the state on caucus night. 

Noem, who endorsed Trump at a South Dakota campaign rally in September, will kick off the final swing through Iowa on Wednesday evening with a Team Trump Iowa MAGA event in Sioux City. 

South Dakota Gov. Kristi Noem
South Dakota Gov. Kristi Noem  Scott Olson / Getty Images

Georgia Rep. Marjorie Taylor-Greene will be the featured speaker at a Trump event in Keokuk on Thursday. Barr is set to speak at a rally in Boone next Tuesday. And former Housing and Urban Development Secretary Dr. Ben Carson, who ran against Trump in 2016, campaigned for him in Iowa in December. 

The campaign plans to host an event every day between Wednesday and caucus night. 

A shift from 2016

The approach from Trump differs from 2016, when a weak campaign ground game resulted in a second place finish behind Texas Sen. Ted Cruz, though Trump led polls going into the caucuses that year. Trump went on to win the GOP nomination and presidency, but aides are determined to not let a loss like that happen again. 

"President Trump has instructed us to ensure that we're not taking anything for granted and to run as if we're one point behind, even though we are 30 points ahead," Miller said.

The latest CBS News poll shows Trump with a comfortable lead and indicates he is the only candidate being actively considered by a majority of likely caucus-goers, with 58% of voters saying they will choose the former president over his GOP rivals. 

Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis remains in second place, despite his outsized focus on Iowa in the last several months, which included moving most of his campaign staff to the state and completing a "full Grassley" tour of all 99 counties in Iowa.

Entrepreneur Vivek Ramaswamy is expected to complete two "full Grassleys" Tuesday, while former South Carolina Gov. Nikki Haley has ramped up campaign appearances in Iowa ahead of the caucuses. 

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