By THOMAS BEAUMONT
DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) — Former President Donald Trump plans to attend Saturday’s football game between Iowa State University and the University of Iowa, his campaign said.
The game, hosted this year by the Iowa State Cyclones in Ames, is the marquee sporting event in the state, which is scheduled to host the leadoff Republican presidential nominating caucuses in January. The visit will mark Trump’s sixth trip to the state this year.
Biotech entrepreneur Vivek Ramaswamy, who is among a dozen challengers to Trump for the 2024 GOP nomination, also plans to attend the Iowa State-Iowa game, his campaign said.
With about four months before the caucuses, Trump leads his rivals in Iowa by wide margins in recent polls, despite facing four criminal indictments. Two of the indictments allege that he acted illegally to try to overturn his 2020 election loss to Democrat Joe Biden.
Trump is the heavy favorite in early caucus polls, with 42% of likely Iowa Republican caucus participants saying Trump is their first choice, according to a Des Moines Register/Mediacom/NBC News Iowa Poll taken last month. Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis is a distant second, though many indicate that they are still considering him.
Trump visited Iowa four times over the summer months, including a stop by the Iowa State Fair, where he was met by throngs of supporters and news media. He has trekked to Iowa more than any of the other early contest states, meeting privately with evangelical ministers, holding policy-oriented events in auditoriums and greeting supporters and conservative activists.
Trump, who is waiving his appearance at an arraignment Wednesday in Georgia, is scheduled to headline a South Dakota Republican Party dinner on Friday.