DeSantis's Massive Grassroots Gamble in Iowa, New Hampshire

DeSantis's Massive Grassroots Gamble in Iowa, New Hampshire

Javier Manjarres
Javier Manjarres
December 27, 2023

Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis has bet his massive grassroots 2024 presidential campaign on winning Iowa, banking on the tens of millions of dollars he transferred over from his 2022 gubernatorial reelection campaign to his Never Back Down PAC, in hopes of mounting a winning door-knocking campaign.

At first, the money spoke volumes and momentum seemed insurmountable with NBD steamrolling across Iowa’s plains and touching just about every registered Republican voter.

According to the PAC, which is under scrutiny along with the DeSantis campaign for potentially colluding with one another, it has hit 812,00o doors in Iowa, 968,000 homes in South Carolina, and 385,000 doors in New Hampshire.

These are big grassroots numbers, but the ground game DeSantis and his supporters have put together has failed to move the needle in any of the public opinion polls conducted within the early voting states.

Now, with less than a month before Iowans caucus to choose the next Republican presidential nominee, DeSantis’s unmatched ground game facing more political challenges.

Not only does DeSantis have to deal with the existing and unwavering support for former President Trump, but he is now being challenged by Ambassador Nikki Haley.

Gov.Ron DeSantis

Back in October, after DeSantis rebooted his campaign (again), a large group of present and former staffers of DeSantis’s administration converged on Ankeny, Iowa to lend a helping hand to the fledgling presidential campaign.

Several members who traveled to Iowa told The Floridian that they traveled on their dime, but that knocking on doors for DeSantis seemed futile because of the overwhelming support for former President Trump they were receiving.

DeSantis Rising in Iowa

“We are in big trouble,” said one source who spoke to us on the condition of anonymity.

The concerns from one of DeSantis’s core supporters who spent a whole weekend interacting with voters, echoed the poll results of the Iowa St. Civiqs poll taken that very weekend in Iowa.

DeSantis was only garnering 16 percent of Iowa Republicans surveyed, while President Trump held a commanding 55 percent support.

An NBC News. Des Moines Register poll, which historically has been seen as the gold standard for gauging how Iowans could potentially vote, showed DeSantis with only 16 percent support and Trump with 43 percent support.

Trump lost support because Ambassador Nikki Haley has begun to surge. In those two polls, Haley garnered 11 and 16 percent support, respectively.

“People underestimated the core support [for Trump],” said a Republican field operative who worked on the pro-DeSantis effort in an early state, noting that “everyone pinned their hopes” on the door-knocking effort being able to move the polls. “And it could not be overcome.”

Since those two Iowa-centric polls were conducted in October, Trump has soared, opening up his overall average of support over DeSantis from 16 percentage points to 34 percentage points.

Considering how fluid American politics can be, there is still a good chance DeSantis finishes a respectable 2nd place if the ground game can overcome the Haley surge.

Both DeSantis and Haley have resumed their campaigning in Iowa this week.

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Javier Manjarres

Javier Manjarres

Javier Manjarres is a nationally renowned award-winning political journalist and Publisher of,,, and He enjoys traveling, playing soccer, mixed martial arts, weight-lifting, swimming, and biking. Javier is also a political consultant and has also authored "BROWN PEOPLE," which is a book about Hispanic Politics. Follow on Twitter: @JavManjarres Email him at

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