(DES MOINES, Iowa) — High winds, freezing temperatures and heavy precipitation put most of Iowa under a winter storm warning this week — dropping up to 6 inches in observed snow in parts of the state, with up to a foot forecast through Wednesday. That upended presidential campaigning in the final days before next Monday’s caucuses start the 2024 Republican primary race.
Donald Trump’s campaign initially scuttled two events featuring Arkansas Gov. Sarah Sanders and Gov. Mike Huckabee in Ottumwa and Des Moines on Monday due to bad weather preventing travel.
Trump then canceled another surrogate event, on Tuesday night with former Acting U.S. Attorney General Matt Whitaker, after comedian Roseanne Barr pulled out Monday night from appearing with Whitaker due to weather.
Nikki Haley’s event in Sioux City on Monday befell a similar fate, with the campaign telling ABC News that weather prevented her arrival. The former South Carolina governor and U.N. ambassador did show up to a scheduled stop in Waukee on Tuesday morning, however.
GOP rival Vivek Ramaswamy had criticized other candidates, especially Haley, for canceling events on Monday as he managed to make it to four of his own stops in northwest Iowa.
“If you can’t handle the snow, you’re not ready for Xi Jinping,” Ramaswamy told reporters after an event in Sioux City where a few inches of snow had already blanketed the area. “Frankly, if these Iowans, and even people from other states around the country have come here to listen to me, and I made a commitment to be here, I’m gonna do everything in my power to do it.”
But on Tuesday morning, Ramaswamy canceled his first three events after posting on X that it was “effectively impossible” to get to his first stop in Coralville.
Still, Ramaswamy plans to be the only candidate to still hold multiple events in the state on Tuesday evening, with four town halls scheduled in Ottumwa, Oskaloosa, Pella and West Des Moines, respectively.
Florida Gov. DeSantis was out of state in order to deliver his State of the State address in Tallahassee, Florida, on Tuesday morning, and it was unclear if he still planned to return to Iowa that night for a planned town hall with Fox News. (A Fox spokeswoman said she had no immediate updates.)
The Iowa GOP chairman, Jeff Kaufmann, told reporters on Monday after the state party’s annual legislative breakfast that he still expects a “robust” turnout at the caucuses, but he admitted that it could be hindered by severe wintry conditions.
In 2016, more than 186,000 votes were cast — breaking the 2012 record of 121,000, which itself topped the 2008 record of 119,000.
ABC News’ Adam Carlson, Lalee Ibssa, Nicholas Kerr, Soo Rin Kim and Isabella Murray contributed to this report.
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