The Republican presidential primary race in the first caucus state heats up.

This weekend, most of the Republican candidates for president are back in Iowa, where “the rubber meets the road” as the time counts down to the caucuses in January.
DES MOINES, IA— With only four months left until the Iowa caucuses, almost all of the Republican candidates for the White House are back this weekend in the state that starts the nomination process for the GOP.

The candidates for president are speaking at the Iowa Faith and Freedom Coalition’s annual fall banquet on Saturday night. They are each making their case to a large and influential crowd of social conservative leaders, activists, and Evangelical voters, who play a big role in Republican politics in the Hawkeye State.

It’s no longer Labor Day. “Now that the kids are back in school, people are starting to really pay attention,” said Jimmy Centers, a longtime Republican organizer and speaker from Iowa.

Centers said that people started to wake up and understand the caucuses were coming when they went to the Iowa State Fair last month, where all but one of the many Republican presidential candidates campaigned for votes.
Nicole Schlinger, a veteran Iowa Republican operative and consultant, said, “Once Labor Day is over, school starts, and the weather starts to change, that’s when people start thinking about elections and start looking into the candidates more seriously in order to make a choice.”

As the 2024 Republican primaries and caucuses quickly approach, former President Donald Trump remains the clear front-runner for his party’s ticket. He is running for the White House for the third time in a row.

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And his record four criminal charges, including two for supposedly trying to change the fact that he lost the 2020 election to President Biden, seem to have only increased his support among potential Republican primary voters.
The latest national Fox News poll on the GOP nomination race, which was done from September 9th to 12th and came out on Thursday, showed that Trump’s already huge lead over the rest of the candidates was growing.

But Trump’s lead in the latest polls in Iowa, New Hampshire, and South Carolina, three of the most important early voting states for the Republican nomination, is not as big. This is true even though he is still far ahead of his competitors.

“It’s closer in Iowa, New Hampshire, and South Carolina than it is nationally, but it’s not close,” said David Kochel, a senior Republican adviser who has worked on many GOP presidential campaigns in Iowa and across the country.
The latest national Fox News poll on the GOP nomination race, which was done from September 9th to 12th and came out on Thursday, showed that Trump’s already huge lead over the rest of the candidates was growing.

But Trump’s lead in the latest polls in Iowa, New Hampshire, and South Carolina, three of the most important early voting states for the Republican nomination, is not as big. This is true even though he is still far ahead of his competitors.

“It’s closer in Iowa, New Hampshire, and South Carolina than it is nationally, but it’s not close,” said David Kochel, a senior Republican adviser who has worked on many GOP presidential campaigns in Iowa and across the country.
Kochel said that Christian voters in Iowa tend to “move together… and they move late.”
Trump is one of the few GOP presidential candidates who won’t be at the Faith and Freedom Coalition’s “cattle call” on Saturday, but the former president will be back in Iowa the following week.

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Schlinger, who is well-known in the social right community, said that Trump’s “track record on life issues is very good” and that it’s not strange that his big double-digit lead in Iowa polls hasn’t changed much.

But she also said, “I think there’s a way for one or two other candidates to do well and beat expectations in Iowa… The door is open, but someone has to walk through it, which hasn’t happened yet.”

But all of the experts said that now is the time for Trump’s opponents to act.

“This is where things get serious. It’s no longer Labor Day. “Now is the time for debates,” Kochel said. “If you’re not firing on all cylinders right now and you don’t have the money to get through New Hampshire, it’s best to step aside and get out of this thing so we can figure out who might be able to take on Trump one-on-one.”

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