Iowa Gov. Kim Reynolds will endorse Ron DeSantis for president, giving the Florida governor’s 2024 campaign a boost as he struggles to make gains against Donald Trump in the Republican primary, two people familiar with the matter said Sunday. .
DeSantis has focused his chances of emerging as an alternative to Trump squarely on Iowa. Reynolds is well-liked within the Republican Party and will break with longstanding Iowa tradition by endorsing DeSantis. Iowa’s governor typically remains neutral ahead of the caucuses that kick off the Republicans’ nominating calendar in January.
The people familiar with the matter spoke to The Associated Press on condition of anonymity before a rally Monday in Des Moines where Reynolds is expected to announce his endorsement. The Des Moines Register and NBC News were the first outlets to report the early endorsement.
Reynolds had hosted DeSantis at political events in Iowa and appeared with Florida first lady Casey DeSantis, without publicly declaring his support. But the governor often highlighted her shared political priorities and achievements, including a bill banning abortion after six weeks of pregnancy.
Reynolds, who is in his second term, had left open the possibility of lending his support to a candidate in the January 15 caucuses.
He had introduced Trump at an event in March. But Trump accused her of disloyalty for weighing an endorsement before the caucuses, and he tried to take credit for her winning the governorship.
Her campaign was quick to criticize her on Sunday.
“Kim Reynolds has apparently begun her retirement tour early, as she clearly has no ambitions to hold higher office,” the Trump campaign said in an emailed statement.