Portrait of Ron DeSantis

DeSantis Campaign Press Release - Bob Vander Plaats Endorses Ron DeSantis for President

November 21, 2023

FAMiLY Leader CEO and President has endorsed the last three Iowa Caucus winners in competitive GOP primaries

Des Moines, IA - Ron DeSantis today secured the endorsement of faith leader and Iowa Caucus kingmaker, Bob Vander Plaats. As President and CEO of The FAMiLY Leader, Vander Plaats holds significant sway over Iowa's evangelical community and beyond. He correctly picked the winner of the Iowa Caucus in 2008, 2012, and 2016.

"As I've made my way through 98 of Iowa's 99 counties, Iowans have shared what a critical role Bob Vander Plaats plays in engaging Iowa's faith community in the key battles that matter," Ron DeSantis said. "His support tells Iowans they can trust me to fight and win for them. We're thrilled to have Bob and Darla on Team DeSantis and are thankful for their friendship as we've gotten to know them throughout this campaign. The road to America's revival starts in Iowa, and we will get the job done."

"I'm thrilled to throw my personal endorsement and support behind Governor Ron DeSantis of Florida," Vander Plaats said in an exclusive interview with Bret Baier on Fox New's Special Report. He continued, "We need to find somebody who can win in 2024. And what we saw in 2022, the supposedly 'red wave' really only happened in Florida and in Iowa. Governor DeSantis took a reliable toss up state in Florida and made it complete red, won by 20 points, won in demographics that we haven't won in. But he's also done that by being a bold and courageous leader. So right away, it was kind of his endorsement to lose but as you know, Bret, in Iowa, they go to church with us, they're in our homes, they come to our offices, the leadership summit. But at last Friday's Thanksgiving Family Forum, he closed the sale on me. He was very clear about, we need a president who can serve two terms, not one term. We don't need a president that's going to be a lame duck on day one. You need a president that is going to surround themselves with the best and brightest people versus having a hard time attracting them again. And someone who's actually going to do what they say they're going to do. And I just think he's got the spine to do it and I think he's got the experience to win for us."

Bob Vander Plaats' support comes just after DeSantis secured the historic endorsement of Iowa Governor Kim Reynolds – the first time since 1996 that a sitting Iowa governor has endorsed in the Republican presidential primary. In August, influential Iowa radio host Steve Deace also endorsed DeSantis.

During this campaign cycle, Bob Vander Plaats:

  • Took Ron and Casey DeSantis to his church in Des Moines
  • Visited the Florida Governor's Mansion for lunch with Ron and Casey DeSantis
  • Hosted a podcast with DeSantis
  • Interviewed DeSantis at his Thanksgiving Family Forum
  • Joined Ron and Casey DeSantis at the Pulse Life Advocates Christmas Gala

At the FAMiLY Leader Thanksgiving Family Forum, Ron DeSantis said, "What you see in Iowa, are people that believe in this country, have faith in God, understand the importance of family, and work hard to provide a better life for themselves and their family. And that's the core of what we need to reverse the decline of this country."

Since announcing his candidacy for president, DeSantis has:

  • Visited 98 of Iowa's 99 counties with one more to go before the Iowa caucus;
  • Earned endorsements from 41 Iowa state legislators (more than any candidate in the race);
  • Earned support from over 100 Iowa faith leaders
  • Earned endorsements from 26 Iowa Sheriffs
  • Received the support of 120 county chairs with at least one in each of Iowa's 99 counties;
  • Built the support of 30,000 Iowans committed to caucus for him; and
  • Made over 130 stops in the Hawkeye State.

Ron DeSantis, DeSantis Campaign Press Release - Bob Vander Plaats Endorses Ron DeSantis for President Online by Gerhard Peters and John T. Woolley, The American Presidency Project https://www.presidency.ucsb.edu/node/369208

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