DeSantis on Iowa caucus: ‘We’re going to win’

GOP presidential candidate Ron DeSantis is confident in winning the upcoming Iowa caucus despite former President Trump’s comfortable lead and polls showing former U.N. ambassador Nikki Haley surging in the state to tie with the Florida governor.

NBC’s Kristen Welker asked DeSantis on “Meet the Press” if he would drop out of the race if he did not come in at least second place in the Iowa caucus. DeSantis did not answer the question, instead reiterating that he believes he will win the caucus.

“Well, we’re going to win the caucus. We’re doing everything that we need to do it. We’ll continue to build support,” he told Welker, who continued to press him to give her an answer.

DeSantis emphasized that there have been candidates who have won the caucus and not won the nomination. He also noted that the race is a “very dynamic” situation, adding that he expects the field to “look different” by the time the Iowa caucuses roll around.

A late October poll by Des Moines Register/NBC News/Mediacom Iowa found DeSantis and Haley tied for second place in Iowa after Haley had surged 10 points since August. Forty-three percent said Trump was their first-choice candidate, giving the former president a 27-point lead over his closest challengers.

While Haley has been pooling her resources in Iowa, DeSantis is also campaigning in the state. DeSantis recently secured an endorsement from Iowa Gov. Kim Reynolds (R), who had previously said she would stay neutral in the 2024 primary. He’s also attempting what is known as the “full Grassley” — visiting all 99 Iowa counties.

He predicted that voters will ultimately need to choose between him or Trump, emphasizing that he believes the primary will be a “referendum” on the former president.

“We have a much better chance if we’re doing it with me as the candidate,” he said. “I’d also be able to serve two terms, and I’m more likely to actually get a lot of this stuff done. But those are the choices, realistically, for Republican voters.”

A first look at the interview first aired Saturday night on NBC’s “Weekend Nightly News.” The full interview will air on “Meet the Press” Sunday morning.

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