To garner increased backing from female voters in the vital early-voting state of Iowa, Florida’s First Lady, Casey DeSantis, is set to hit the campaign trail solo. She’s launching the nationwide initiative “Mammas for DeSantis” this Thursday, aimed at rallying moms to support her husband, Governor Ron DeSantis.
The “Mammas for DeSantis” initiative originally kicked off in Florida in 2022, with its main objective being to marshal parental backing for Governor DeSantis’s agenda promoting parents’ rights. The campaign now hopes that this Sunshine State success can scale up to national proportions.
In collaboration with Iowa’s GOP Governor, Kim Reynolds, Casey DeSantis will initiate the group in Johnston, a suburb of Des Moines. This move comes at a critical time when the DeSantis campaign is striving to bridge the poll gap with a formidable opponent, former President Donald Trump.
A U.K. Daily Mail report indicates that this tactical move is a response to the DeSantis campaign’s acknowledgment of trailing behind the frontrunner, Trump. This has led many to speculate whether Casey DeSantis’ front-and-center role could provide a needed boost to her husband’s campaign.
Throughout the campaign, Casey DeSantis has been an ever-present figure, accompanying her husband at multiple events across key primary and caucus states. Her warm demeanor and inspiring personal journey as a cancer survivor have proven invaluable to the campaign.
Last month, she made a splash in a campaign stop in Iowa by donning a black leather jacket with the slogan “Where woke goes to die” on the back—a sentiment resonating strongly with conservative voters. Yet, critics, including left-leaning outlets, dismissively referred to her as a “Walmart Melania,” trying to draw comparisons to former First Lady Melania Trump.
The decision to send Casey DeSantis to the event, instead of her husband, is seen by some observers as an attempt to stem the dip in the governor’s poll numbers and inject fresh enthusiasm into his campaign.
Amid accusations of Governor DeSantis appearing awkward with voters, and falling behind Trump in the national polls, the strategy to feature Casey DeSantis prominently could leverage her relatable and affable nature to connect better with the electorate.
However, this move is not without critics. Some have questioned whether sending Casey DeSantis instead of the governor himself implies a shortfall in his ability to engage voters and manage his own campaign effectively. They view this as a desperate, last-ditch effort to recover lost ground in the polls and regain momentum amid a crowded field of GOP contenders.
As the “Mammas for DeSantis” event kicks off in Iowa, all eyes are on Casey DeSantis. She’s expected to rally not just mothers, but also fathers, grandparents, aunts, uncles—basically anyone responsible for a child—to support her husband’s presidential ambitions. The event page reads, “Governor Ron DeSantis is the fighter we need to protect the innocence of our children while defending and protecting the rights of parents.”
Whether this tactical move can alter the course of the campaign and turn the tide in poll numbers, however, remains to be seen.