GOP hopefuls flock to Iowa State Fair

The Iowa State Fair kicked off Thursday, the latest opportunity for GOP presidential hopefuls to get out their message and draw attention in a primary field dominated by former President Trump.


While Trump will visit the fair Saturday, he won’t be participating in The Des Moines Register’s Political Soapbox, which is billed as giving candidates “20 minutes, a microphone and a crowd eager to listen to political pitches.”


Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis (R), who has consistently polled second behind Trump, also won’t be participating in the soapbox. That gives lesser-known candidates an opening to make their pitch to voters.


The event draws candidates from across the political spectrum, and will feature two of President Biden‘s Democratic challengers as well.


Iowa will hold the nation’s first presidential nominating contest on Jan. 15.


Here are the candidates who spoke Thursday or will speak later this week: 



  • 1:30 p.m.: North Dakota Gov. Doug Burgum
  • 4:30 p.m.: Former Vice President Mike Pence


  • 11:15 a.m.: Miami Mayor Francis Suarez
  • 12 p.m.: Businessman Perry Johnson
  • 1:30 p.m.: Radio host Larry Elder


  • 11:15 a.m.: Pastor Ryan Binkley
  • 12 p.m.: Entrepreneur Vivek Ramaswamy
  • 1:30 p.m.: Author Marianne Williamson (D)
  • 2:15 p.m.: Lawyer Robert F. Kennedy Jr. (D)
  • 3 p.m.: Former U.N. Ambassador Nikki Haley

Former Rep. Will Hurd (R-Texas) and former Arkansas GOP Gov. Asa Hutchinson will speak at the event next Friday and Saturday, respectively.


Iowa Gov. Kim Reynolds (R) will also host several “fire-side chats” with GOP candidates, including DeSantis on Saturday and Sen. Tim Scott (S.C.) next Tuesday. (See KCCI Des Moines’s schedule for the chats here.)


Read more on the event from The Hill’s Caroline Vakil here.


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