AMES — Five GOP presidential candidates were at the Iowa-Iowa State game Saturday, hoping to score points with potential Iowa Caucus-goers. The two leading candidates in the Republican Party’s presidential race attracted the most attention in Ames.
Before the game, former President Donald Trump briefly spoke to hundreds waiting outside the AGR fraternity and he threw some autographed footballs into the crowd. As Trump made his way into the stadium, Trump was cheered and greeted with a “U-S-A! U-S-A!” chant, but there were a few boos and obscene gestures directed Trump’s way. Trump watched the game from a private stadium suite with Gary Kirke, a Des Moines businessman who’s the co-owner of two Iowa casinos.
Florida Governor Ron DeSantis strolled through the throngs of tailgaters, then during the game, DeSantis sat in the stands next to Iowa Governor Kim Reynolds. Reynolds has said she’s neutral in the presidential race so all candidates feel welcome to campaign here. However, Reynolds isn’t ruling out making an endorsement “on down the road” — closer to the January 15, 2024 Caucuses.
North Dakota Governor Doug Burgum, former Arkansas Governor Asa Hutchinson and businessman Vivek Ramaswamy were also in the tailgate zone outside Jack Trice Stadium on Saturday.