The Iowa-Iowa State football game on Saturday afternoon is set to attract the top three Republican presidential candidates, making it the largest sports crowd in the state for this prestigious rivalry game. Former President Trump, Florida Governor Ron DeSantis, and businessman Vivek Ramaswamy have all confirmed their attendance, alongside lesser-known candidates Asa Hutchinson, former Governor of Arkansas, and Doug Burgum, the Governor of North Dakota.
Taking place in Ames, Iowa, this year’s game for the Cy-Hawk Trophy drew a crowd of 61,500 people. It will be Trump’s sixth visit to the Hawkeye State, while DeSantis has prioritized campaigning in Iowa. DeSantis has already visited nearly half of Iowa’s 99 counties, demonstrating his commitment to engaging with voters.
In 2015, Trump attended a previous edition of the rivalry game in Ames, where Iowa emerged victorious. Recently, he held a rally in South Dakota alongside Governor Kristi Noem, who has endorsed him and is believed to be a potential running mate for the former president. Trump strategically plans his visits to Iowa in order to coincide with DeSantis’ events, aiming to divert attention away from his main competitor. While Trump attracted a massive crowd during a stop at the Iowa State Fair last month, DeSantis received significantly less attention as he walked the fairgrounds with his family.
Iowa is crucial for DeSantis’ campaign, which has faced challenges in maintaining momentum given Trump’s strong lead in the polls. DeSantis currently has about 13 percent support according to national polling averages, while Trump dominates the crowded GOP field with approximately 53 percent support. Ramaswamy holds the third position with around 8 percent support.
On the field, the game is expected to be closely contested as both teams are recovering from sports betting scandals that affected their rosters during the offseason. Both teams secured victories in their first games last week. The kickoff is scheduled for 2:30 p.m. local time.