Sen. Tim Scott (R-SC) has seen declining poll numbers, as several 2024 Republican candidates have, in addition to facing calls to drop out of the race and join in coalescing around former U.N. Ambassador Nikki Haley, who has enjoyed newfound momentum in the primary contest. But Scott says he isn’t going anywhere.
In an interview Thursday with the Washington Examiner, Scott said, “the state polls are very different than the ones that you’re looking at nationally.”
According to Scott, his campaign sees the opportunity for Iowa to be a “game changer.”
To that end, the Scott campaign announced Tuesday its plan to go “all in” on the first-in-the-nation caucus state. This involves his staff in the Hawkeye State being doubled and an additional headquarters being opened in West Des Moines. The senator will be visiting the state on a weekly basis following the third Republican debate on Nov. 8, his campaign claimed. Certain resources which had been allotted for other states, such as New Hampshire, are also now being rerouted to Iowa to accommodate the shift in strategy.
“The road to the White House for me is right straight through Iowa,” Scott said. “And the good news is my faith-filled message is really resonating with a state where at least 2 out of 3 — if not 4 out of 5 of the caucusgoers will be evangelicals.”
“As a person who’s a Christian myself, it’s a place where it makes total sense for me to spend my time investing my energy into a state that already is aligned effectively, not only with my message, but with my mission,” he added.
The evangelical voter bloc Scott is targeting, however, is being eyed by other candidates, too. Gov. Ron DeSantis (R-FL), who also recently shifted significant staffing and resources to Iowa, has been courting the evangelical group throughout the campaign season, even garnering several endorsements from faith leaders in the state. Additionally, former Vice President Mike Pence has long boasted a reputation as a strong Christian, and he has made that reputation central to his 2024 campaign.
What Scott believes he has that others don’t, and what will put him over the top, is optimism. “In order for you to beat [former President] Donald Trump, you have to be able to have an optimistic, positive conservative message, with a backbone.”
“We’re that candidate,” he said. “We look forward to having the opportunity to go one-on-one [with Trump].”
While Scott is shifting his focus to Iowa, he isn’t shifting his strategy. When it comes to the third debate on Nov. 8, Scott’s campaign has not announced his qualification yet. Haley, DeSantis, Trump, Vivek Ramaswamy, and former New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie have reportedly qualified.
Despite not seeing the post-debate momentum Haley did, Scott isn’t planning on switching up his game plan. “I will say the second debate we had as much screen time as anyone else, and we were very thankful for that,” he explained.
“We felt like that was a very effective way to get the time in front of the audience and we hope to do more of the exact same thing,” Scott added.