Iowa is back on the map as a top-tier battleground, with President Trump moving to rebuff surging presumptive Democratic nominee Joe Biden with early television advertising and campaign appearances by Vice President Mike Pence.
The Trump campaign has been on the air in Iowa since mid-May, and Pence has deployed there twice in five weeks, including Tuesday for lunch at a local diner with Republican Gov. Kim Reynolds and then a tour of manufacturer Winnebago Industries. The attention comes amid fresh polling showing Trump and Biden in a dead heat for Iowa’s six Electoral College votes, revealing a threat to the president’s reelection Iowa Republicans take seriously.
“It just comes down to which side ends up a little more fired up than the other,” a senior Iowa Republican operative said.
In 2016, Trump defeated Democrat Hillary Clinton in Iowa by nearly 10 percentage points, carrying 94 of 99 counties, a remarkable outcome for what is a traditional battleground. Even after Democrats flipped two congressional districts in the midterm elections, the president’s overwhelming victory in the last White House contest suggested to many Republicans there was little to worry about this fall. But that has changed.