Republican presidential candidate Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis speaks during a Republican presidential primary debate hosted by NBC News, Wednesday, Nov. 8, 2023, at the Adrienne Arsht Center for the Performing Arts of Miami-Dade County in Miami. (AP Photo/Rebecca Blackwell)
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(NewsNation) — The DeSantis campaign isn’t wasting any time, hitting the ground running in Iowa just days after NewsNation’s GOP primary debate. Over the next few days, the Florida governor will make multiple stops across the state in a last-chance effort to win over voters before the Iowa caucuses.

Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis will visit Des Moines on Friday, where he will meet with voters and touch on a wide range of key issues. He will host a “Mamas for DeSantis” fireside chat and toy drive with his wife Casey DeSantis.

On Thursday, DeSantis found himself making a campaign stop in Council Bluff after hosting a meet-and-greet event in Cedar Rapids.

His efforts have been working, as his message appears to be resonating with Iowa voters.

If elected as president, the governor said the first thing he would do — and his number one priority — is to secure the border. He wants to use the U.S. military to eliminate Mexican drug cartels.

“We’re going to declare the border to be a national emergency on day one. We’re going to send military, we’re going to stop the invasion,” DeSantis said. “We’re going to send the people back who came illegally and we’re going to hold the Mexican drug cartels accountable.”

Iowa voters at the DeSantis event told NewsNation that the governor’s prior military experience sets him apart regarding his plans to tackle foreign policy. The Florida governor is the only remaining GOP presidential candidate to have served in the nation’s military.

“One thing I love about him is he’s the only one running with any military experience, and to a lot of the people that have served, we need someone like that who understands foreign policy a lot better with everything going on in the Middle East and across the world right now,” voter John Thompson said.

With just six weeks until the Iowa caucuses, DeSantis uncovered an avenue to victory by vying for votes in the Hawkeye State. The Florida governor has been slowly closing the gap between him and former President Donald Trump, who still has a massive lead in the polls.

In recent weeks, DeSantis has been able to climb four points in the polls, touting his record in Florida on economic growth and combating so-called “wokeism.”

At Wednesday night’s debate, he spoke about prioritizing the early-voting states.

“I’m looking forward to Iowa and New Hampshire. The voters are going to be able to speak and we’re going to earn this nomination,” DeSantis said.

He continued, “Here’s what we need. I am sick of Republicans who are not willing to stand up and fight back against what the left is doing to this country. You’ve got to be willing to stand strong and you’ve got to be willing to beat these people. I’m the only one running for president that has beaten these people on issue after issue.”

Former U.N. Ambassador Nikki Haley and entrepreneur Vivek Ramaswamy will also be hosting town hall events throughout Iowa over the next few days.

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