Former President Donald Trump and Governor Ron DeSantis’ campaigns collided together on Saturday at the annual Iowa–Iowa State football game. Both are seen as prime contenders for the 2024 presidential election, and their distinct styles were on display during the events at Jack Trice Stadium.

Governor DeSantis chose to spend his time with Iowa’s Governor, Kim Reynolds. It’s worth noting that Trump had earlier criticized Reynolds for her perceived closeness with DeSantis. While Reynolds has remained neutral in public, she has consistently accompanied DeSantis during key events in Iowa, raising eyebrows and causing a bit of a stir in the Trump camp.

DeSantis further highlighted his presence by attending a tailgate organized by the Iowa State Wrestling Club. As he made his entrance, enthusiastic supporters, armed with signs from the super PAC ‘Never Back Down’ supporting his presidential aspirations, chanted, “We want Ron!”

On the other hand, Trump relished the limelight in his signature style. Instead of mingling with political elites, he opted for a private stadium suite. Before the game, Trump made an appearance at a tailgate by the Alpha Gamma Rho fraternity. His entry was marked by roaring applause, drowning out even the loud country music in the background.

The former president seemed to enjoy the adulation, saying, “This is some turnout. I guess the youth likes Trump.”  He even engaging with them by flipping burgers and tossing campaign-branded footballs into the eager crowd. Trump remarked, “I’m into the well-done.”

While the football game at the Jack Trice Stadium was undoubtedly thrilling, the political game unfolding in the stands was equally riveting. With the Iowa caucus approaching, the strategies of these Republican stalwarts are clear: while Trump taps into his charisma and mass appeal, DeSantis is charting a more diplomatic and strategic path. Only time will tell who gains the upper hand in the long run but most pollsters agree that Iowa is a two-horse race.

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