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GOP chair says Trump ‘still has a great deal of support’ in Iowa

DES MOINES — The chairman of the Iowa GOP says having President Trump at the top of the ticket in 2016 and 2020 “obviously” helped Iowa Republican candidates, but Jeff Kaufmann says the state party is led by its Republican governor.

“This was never Trump’s Republican Party,” Kaufmann said during a conference call with Iowa reporters. “This was Kim Reynold’s Republican Party.”

Kaufmann has been the Iowa Republican Party chairman since June of 2013 and on Saturday the Iowa GOP’s governing board voted to keep him in that role. Kaufmann said his focus now is on reelecting Reynolds and Senator Chuck Grassley in 2022.

“I can’t think of a time when (Iowa Republicans) have been stronger,” Kaufmann said. “I mean we are at an absolute peak right now.”

Kaufmann’s also focused on the lobbying effort to keep Iowa’s Caucuses first in the nation. Kaufmann said it’ll be “up to citizens” to decide if Donald Trump makes a political comeback in the 2024 Iowa Caucuses, but Kaufmann said he’s currently getting phone calls, texts and email from Iowa Republicans expressing continued support for Trump.

“I mean we are bombarded here, I mean literally bombarded,” Kaufmann said. “Yes, I think he still has a great deal of support in this state.”

Kaufmann said he won’t “gloss over” the disappointment that the incumbent Republican president has not been reelected, but Kaufmann said the focus now is on the next election. That includes next week’s special election for a state senate seat in the Ottumwa area.

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