Ron DeSantis’ Most Important Iowa Pal

From left, Iowa Gov. Kim Reynolds, Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis and Rep. Randy Feenstra flip meat on the grill for a photo op during the annual Feenstra Family Picnic at the Dean Family Classic Car Museum in Sioux Center, Iowa, on Saturday, May 13, 2023. (Photo by Rebecca S. Gratz/Washington Post /Getty Images)

Happy Friday! If you thought former Chicago Mayor Lori Lightfoot’s reelection loss marked the end of her public-facing career, think again! Per the Chicago Sun-Times, Lightfoot’s “next chapter will take her to the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health, where she will teach a course tentatively titled ‘Health Policy and Leadership,’ drawing heavily on her experiences steering Chicago through the COVID-19 pandemic and grappling with health equity issues.”

Up to Speed

  • Stay tuned for a jam-packed week ahead on the Republican presidential announcement front. On Tuesday, former New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie will formally launch his presidential campaign during a town hall event at the New Hampshire Institute of Politics Auditorium at Saint Anselm College. Then a double whammy on Wednesday: Former Vice President Mike Pence will kick off his campaign with a speech and CNN town hall in Des Moines, Iowa, and North Dakota Gov. Doug Burgum will announce his campaign in Fargo.
  • The Senate on Thursday passed bipartisan legislation that pairs a debt ceiling suspension with federal spending caps in a 63-36 vote, ending a months-long standoff between President Joe Biden and House Republicans over raising the country’s borrowing limit to avoid default. The bill now heads to Biden’s desk, where he is expected to sign it this afternoon before delivering a rare primetime Oval Office address.
  • The Labor Department said Friday that the U.S. economy added 339,000 seasonally adjusted jobs in May. “Today is a good day for the American economy and American workers,” President Biden said in a statement.
  • President Biden tripped and fell on stage Thursday during a U.S. Air Force Academy commencement ceremony in Colorado Springs. The 80-year-old president suffered no injuries and is “fine,” according to a White House spokesman Ben LaBolt. Ceremony footage shows Air Force officials helping him stand up after the fall.
  • Trust in the Mission PAC, the outside group supporting Sen. Tim Scott’s presidential campaign, is spending $7.5 million on TV and digital ads in Iowa and New Hampshire to build Scott’s brand as the race’s positive-message candidate. “We live in the land of opportunity, not the land of oppression,” Scott says in the ad. “And that’s why I say, from cotton to Congress in one lifetime—only in America.”

DeSantis Stocks Up on Reynolds Wrap

DES MOINES, Iowa—As Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis tries to catch frontrunner Donald Trump in the crucial 2024 Iowa caucuses, he has a not-so-secret weapon in the contest: Iowa Gov. Kim Reynolds.

Reynolds is committed to neutrality. As a growing field of Republicans vying for the nomination traverses Iowa stumping for votes, the governor regularly hosts almost any candidate who campaigns here. But Reynolds and DeSantis have a special camaraderie that’s hard to miss when they’re together. Reynolds likes to brag in introductory speeches for her colleague that Iowa is the Florida of the North, and DeSantis delights in gushing at every Hawkeye State stop that Florida is Iowa-Southeast.

This mutual admiration, plus a personal seal of approval from the well-liked Iowa governor pursuing a similar agenda in her state, could help DeSantis overtake Trump, the former president. It also could give him an advantage over other competitors positioned to make headway with likely GOP caucus-goers. In five events over 24 hours across Iowa this week, DeSantis wrapped himself in Reynolds’ popularity—generating hearty applause everytime. It seemed just as much political strategy as professional courtesy.

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