One of former President Donald Trump’s top advisers in Iowa says “there was no question” about where to hold Trump’s first rally since last November’s election in the state whose caucuses for half a century have kicked off the presidential nominating calendar.
And that location is the Iowa State Fairgrounds in Des Moines.
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“The great thing about the Iowa State Fair – we’ve got plenty of parking, plenty of space. President has been here before. He loves the Iowa State Fair. What better place and what better set up than what we have here right now,” Trump political adviser and veteran GOP operative Eric Branstad told Fox News on the eve of Saturday’s rally.
But more than the logistics, there’s plenty of political precedent for holding Saturday’s rally at the fairgrounds.
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“Everything about the Iowa State Fair says politics,” longtime Iowa based GOP consultant David Kochel said. “It’s ground zero for congressional races, Senate races, governors races and most importantly presidential races. Anybody who’s run for president in a serious way in the last couple of decades has spent some time around the corn dogs, the buffalo chip throwing contest, and all the things that come at the Iowa State Fair.”
Kochel, a veteran of numerous Republican presidential campaigns, added that beyond politics “the fair connects to the agrarian history of Iowa. It’s something everyone connects to.. it’s a cultural touchstone in our state.”
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Trump’s no stranger to the fairgrounds. Trump stumped at the 2015 Iowa State Fair, as he was running for the 2016 GOP presidential nomination. And he returned at the end of the year to hold a rally ahead of the caucuses.
As he campaigned at the 2015 State Fair, Trump broke some cardinal rules.
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He arrived by helicopter and he skipped taking questions at the famed Des Moines Register Soapbox, where Iowa voters for years have shouted questions at White House hopefuls. Regardless, Trump was mobbed by media, supporters and fair goers.