(Reuters) – U.S. Senator Tim Scott is increasing his staff in Iowa and shifting resources to the early voting state as he seeks to revive his languishing campaign to be the Republican 2024 presidential nominee.
Former President Donald Trump is the runaway favorite to win the Republican primaries that kick off on Jan. 15 in Iowa.
However, Trump has shown some weakness among Iowa’s crucial evangelical voters, a trend Scott and other presidential contenders, including Florida Governor Ron DeSantis, are hoping to capitalize on.
Describing the evangelical lane as “wide-open,” Scott’s campaign said on Monday they were doubling their staff in Iowa and increasing advertising spend in the midwestern state. Following the next debate on Nov. 8, Scott will travel to Iowa every week ahead until January vote, his campaign added.
The decision is reminiscent of DeSantis’ do-or-die approach to Iowa. The DeSantis campaign has relocated one-third of its campaign staff to Iowa and has committed to a $2 million TV ad buy to run through the caucuses.
DeSantis’ much-anticipated presidential bid is sputtering after missteps and relentless targeting by Trump, while Scott’s never truly got off the ground. The only Black Republican in the U.S. Senate, Scott has run a presidential campaign focused on optimism that has struggled to compete against the more aggressive approaches put forward by Trump and DeSantis.
Scott has also been eclipsed since former South Carolina governor Nikki Haley’s strong debate showings. Haley is now in a battle with DeSantis for donors and voters to become the leading Trump alternative.
Scott attracted 2% support among Republicans, according to Reuters/Ipsos polling conducted from Sept. 8 through Sept. 14.
(Reporting by Alexandra Ulmer; Editing by Aurora Ellis)