(Part-2) Iowa Republicans disappoint Ron DeSantis, proving their loyalty to Trump.

After finishing third behind DeSantis on Monday, former UN Ambassador Haley thinks she's the one. She is within striking distance of Trump in recent surveys ahead of the Jan. 23 New Hampshire primary, but her third-place performance in Iowa may not matter. Despite Trump's large win in Iowa, Haley claimed she might attack his vulnerabilities in New Hampshire, where she declared Monday night had become a two-candidate fight without DeSantis.

Trump struggles with suburban voters, who cost him nationally in 2020. Only about a third of suburban Iowa Republicans favor the former president, according to The Associated Press' VoteCast, an AP-NORC Center for Public Affairs Research survey of over 1,500 Republican caucus hopefuls.

Johnson County, Iowa, a growing area south of Cedar Rapids along Interstate 80, favored Haley over Trump. She ended more competitively behind Trump Monday in Dallas County, one of the five fastest-growing counties in the U.S., which resembles New Hampshire's suburban terrain more than Iowa farmland.

I just think we need a younger person, and someone with her grit,” said 58-year-old Republican accountant Nancy Wildanger, who attended Haley's speech in Iowa City, Johnson County's most Democratic enclave, on Sunday in the bone-chilling cold. I worry that Trump is so elderly to rule our country. I think she can defeat Biden better.”

with spending more than $100 million — $4,200 per vote in Iowa — and expecting to win with Gov. Kim Reynolds' support in November, where does DeSantis go?

He immediately traveled to South Carolina for a Tuesday flag-planting event in Haley's region. How his campaign, low on funds, survives till the South Carolina primary, 39 days away, given Trump's easy fundraising and contributors who had waited to see Haley's strength come off the fence? The primary math still favors the former president, as it did in 2016, when he just needed to edge his closest competitor to proceed.

Nearly half of Monday's voters wanted someone other than Trump, but the former president could easily win a majority of support in this increasingly conservative state, where Republicans control all but one statewide office, both houses of the legislature, and six congressional seats.

Iowans understand that first impressions count. After Democrats moved Iowa back on their primary calendar after a counting fiasco marred their caucuses four years ago, Iowa Republicans had the first votes of 2024, and despite a lower turnout than in most years, likely due to weather, they gave the impression that their party belongs to Trump. No matter that nearly half of caucus-goers voted for someone else Monday. 

In the final days of the campaign, as snow fell and temperatures rose, some voters may have only needed to see the line outside Simpson College as the morning sun provided weak comfort to the 100 people waiting in 18-below-zero weather to enter Trump's midday event, which would draw more than 1,000 to the Kent Student Center.

Trump volunteer Jackie Garlock glanced around a similar ballroom in Mason City, northern Iowa, on a frigid Saturday a week ago, sure Trump would win.

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