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Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis heads to Iowa in latest sign of GOP presidential ambitions

It’s lovely in Iowa this time of year, especially if you’re thinking about running for president next year.

Ron DeSantis ventured to frigid Des Moines and Davenport on Friday to present his Republican credentials in the state that will have the first say in the 2024 Republican presidential race.

The Florida governor made his familiar boast that he has turned the Sunshine State into a testing ground for conservative values.

“We will never give up to the awakened crowd,” he told a crowd of supporters. “Our state is where the woke mob goes to die.”

DeSantis boasted that he is the ideal messenger for the right-wing push against abortion and political correctness in American schools and businesses.

He told Republican voters that he transformed Florida from a makeshift state to a Republican stronghold in just four years.

“From what we showed in Florida, not only can you have a good agenda and deliver, but you can make great strides with the electorate,” he said. “And that is exactly what we did. It doesn’t happen by accident.”

DeSantis was silent on a potential presidential campaign, though being in Davenport on a 36-degree cloudy March day was a pretty obvious sign.

Aides say he plans to enter the race later in the spring, after pushing a series of right-wing measures in the next session of the Florida legislature.

He did not mention former President Donald Trump by name, though he did boast that his administration is known for avoiding “drama” and “palace intrigue,” a possible indirection to his Florida counterpart.

The two Republican heavyweights lead most other Republican candidates by wide margins, though polls are mixed on who would win a one-on-one race.

Florida Governor Ron DeSantis speaks at an event on Friday, March 10, 2023, in Davenport, Iowa.

Trump, who declared his campaign to return to the White House last year, has already opened fire on DeSantis.

He boasted about helping farmers with subsidies and boosting ethanol production, a big problem in corn-growing Iowa.

“Very few crowds for Ron DeSanctimonious in Iowa,” Trump wrote on his social media site, using his favorite derisive nickname. “He’s against Farmers, Social Security and Medicare, so why would people show up?”

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