12 GOP candidates sign up for ‘Fair Side Chats’ with Gov. Reynolds

DES MOINES — A dozen Republican presidential candidates have agreed to have Governor Kim Reynolds interview them at the Iowa State Fair.

Reynolds is calling the 12 separate interviews “Fair Side Chats.” Former President Donald Trump has not accepted the governor’s invitation to join her on the fairgrounds, but the news release announcing the schedule indicated it is subject to change.

Last week, the governor told reporters at the statehouse she plans keep the questions consistent rather than tailored to each candidate. “We might put together some fun ones that we think would be interesting to ask them,” Reynolds said.

Her staff has set up a website, so Iowans can submit questions, too. Reynolds, in the news release, said the state fair is an event that’s “near and dear to my heart” and these chats give her the opportunity to introduce her party’s presidential candidates to Iowans.

“I think it’s a great way to see a different side to the candidates,” Reynolds said last week. “Who wouldn’t want to come to the Iowa State Fair? They were all planning on being there.”

Reynolds calls the State Fair “the perfect vanue” for the candidates because she’s found over that years that she’s able to interact with more Iowans there than at any other event in the state.

“I am just excited to be in my blue jeans, my bling beat and my cowboots and to be at the State Fair every single day, hugging and talking to Iowans,” Reynolds told statehouse reporters last Tuesday.

On the first day of the fair, Thursday, August 10, former radio talk show host Larry Elder will appear with Reynolds. On the first Friday of the state fair, Reynolds will interview North Dakota Governor Doug Burgum, former Vice President Mike Pence and Miami Mayor Francis Suarez. On Saturday, August 12, businessman Vivek Ramaswamy, former South Carolina Governor Nikki Haley and Florida Governor Ron DeSantis are on the schedule. Former Arkansas Governor Asa Hutchinson, Texas pastor Ryan Binkley and South Carolina Senator Tim Scott will speak with Reynolds on Tuesday, August 15. On the last Friday of the fair, August 18, Michigan businessman Perty Johnson and former Texas Congressman Will Hurd will join Reynolds on the “Fair Side Chat” stage at JR’s SouthPork Ranch. It’s a food and beverage hall on the fairgrounds, near the Dairy Barn.

Donald Trump has campaigned, solo, at the Iowa State Fair before. In 2015, he flew a helicopter over the fairgrounds and later drew large crowds as he walked through the fair on the same Saturday Hillary Clinton and Bernie Sanders were making appearances there.