Reynolds backing could ‘move the needle’ in Iowa Caucuses

DES MOINES — It would be a big shot heard ’round the political world and it’s clear G-O-P candidates are gunning for it.

Vivek Ramaswamy is among the 12 presidential candidates appearing with Iowa’s most popular Republican at this year’s Iowa State Fair. “First of all, can we give your great governor a round of applause here? She is dominant,” Ramaswamy said, as the crowd cheered. “She is totally dominant.”

Tim Scott took an audience survey when he sat down for his Fair Side Chat with Reynolds. “How many of y’all love Kim Reynolds?” Scott asked, the crowd cheered and Reynolds laughed before he calculated: “It’s 100%”

Reynolds has said she is neutral in the 2024 presidential race, so all the candidates will feel welcome to campaign for the Iowa Caucuses. Iowa GOP chairman Jeff Kaufmann said he doubts any one endorsement would secure an Iowa Caucus victory for a candidate, “but she could certainly shine a light of interest on a candidate. I think she is the only person in Iowa would who would have that effect.”

Austin Harris, a state representative from Moulton, used for work for the Republican Party of Iowa and was the party’s political director in 2019. Harris, who is backing Nikki Haley, said an endorsement from Reynolds could be “a game changer.”

“I think Republicans across the state admire her, trust her judgement,” Harris said. “I think if she were to get involved, that would shake up the race for sure.”

Steve Scheffler, the leader of the Iowa Faith and Freedom Coalition, is also the Iowa Republican Party’s National Committeeman. He said Reynolds is probably the only politician in Iowa who could “move the needle” a couple of points for a candidate. “The governor’s ratings are sort of through the roof for popularity, you know,” Scheffler said.

A Des Moines Register Iowa Poll conducted in March found Reynolds had an 86% approval rating among Iowa Republicans.