GOP Candidates Descend on ‘First in the Nation’ Iowa for Ernst’s Roast and Ride

DES MOINES, Iowa — The largest group of Republican presidential candidates ever attended the annual roast and bike ride of Senator Joni Ernst (R-Iowa) on Saturday as the 2024 campaign accelerates. gathered in Iowa on Saturday.

Ernst hosted eight nominees for the eighth annual event, with over 200 motorcycles racing from Big Burn Harley-Davidsons to the famous Iowa State Fairgrounds.

“We all know the road to 2024 runs through Iowa. Guys, we run through roast and ride here today,” Ernst told a crowd of about 1,000. “This is the biggest event we have ever held.”

Ernst, who grew up on a farm in Iowa, make In 2014, she headlined a “screaming” Senate ad about pig neutering and rode a Harley to the event with former Vice President Mike Pence.

Pence, who is set to announce his candidacy in Hawkeye State next week, set himself apart by being the only guest to ride a bike with Ernst on Saturday.

Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis, who ranks second only to former President Donald Trump in most polls, grabbed the attention of media and crowds of supporters just before his bike headed for the venue.

Governor Ron DeSantis greets supporters at the annual Roast and Ride in Des Moines, Iowa, June 3, 2023. (Ashley Oliver/Breitbart News)

One veteran supporter thanked Mr. DeSantis for understanding “what a veteran is and what a veteran needs,” but the former Navy governor said, “Yes. ‘ he replied. It’s a bond. “

Another thanked DeSantis for “standing up to an awakened Disney.” The governor is in the midst of an ongoing legal battle with Disney over a development deal after entertainment giants criticized the state’s parental rights law in education, which detractors called the “Don’t Say You’re Gay” bill. .

“Oh yeah, don’t worry about it. We won’t withdraw it,” Mr. DeSantis replied.

Ashley Oliver

Former South Carolina Governor Nikki Haley, Senator Tim Scott (R-SC), entrepreneur Vivek Ramaswamy, conservative media personality Larry Elder, Arkansas Governor Asa Hutchinson, Michigan Businessman Perry Johnson was also present.

Being a regular in Iowa ahead of the state caucuses, the first contest for presidential primaries, has been the norm for candidates for decades, with Iowa winners taking on subsequent states. was shaken by

Tim Scott's Roast and Ride

Sen. Tim Scott tours at Roast and Ride in Des Moines, Iowa, June 3, 2023. (Ashley Oliver/Breitbart News)

But Ernst said Democrats “ditched Iowa” this year and left the interior Midwest and moved to South Carolina, arguing it would give black voters a bigger voice in the primary.

“What did the Democrats do? The Democrats ditched Iowa. They went to the coast, right? ,” Ernst said, arguing that Iowa will remain “No. 1 in the nation” for Republicans.

State Senator Chuck Grassley, Gov. Kim Reynolds, and an all-Republican delegation to the Iowa legislature were also present.

In a table setting adorned with the smell of barbecue and pigs, Iowans and caucus attendees listened to each candidate on stage for about 10 minutes.

“Iowa is where this party started,” Mr. Pence said proudly, before thundering applause as he announced the start of his next campaign in Iowa next week.

Mike Pence

Former Vice President Mike Pence at Roast and Ride in Des Moines, Iowa on June 3, 2023. (Ashley Oliver/Breitbart News)

Haley also drew cheers of approval when she said, “Biological boys playing women’s sports is the biggest problem of our time.”

In an interview with Breitbart News ahead of his speech, the former governor and UN ambassador said Roast and Ride will allow participants to “know the difference” in key expanding areas.

“I want them to look at our record. I want them to see my experience as a manager and my experience in foreign policy. I want them to see my toughness. I think you’ll see that at the event,” Haley said.

Larry Elder, who outspokenly challenged California Gov. Gavin Newsom (Democrat) in last year’s recall election, greeted the audience with a big smile and a “hello to the blackface of white supremacist.”be los angeles times Columnist criticism of him.

Larry Elder of Roast and Ride

Larry Elder speaking with attendees at Roast and Ride in Des Moines, Iowa on June 3, 2023 (Nick Gilbertson/Breitbart News)

Scott shared his powerful life story, which began growing up in poverty with a single mother who worked as a nursing assistant.

“She looked at me and gave me another motivational lesson. She said, ‘We can be victims, we can be winners.’ She chose her victory,” he said. “She also taught me that all work has dignity, which is why I know that in America, the able-bodied can work.”

Mr. DeSantis was the closing speaker for the event, and received a standing ovation as he took the stage with his wife, Casey, wearing a black leather jacket that read, “Where you wake up to die.”

Casey DeSantis

Casey DeSantis wearing a jacket bearing the phrase “Where you wake up and you die” speaks with Governor Kim Reynolds at Roast and Ride in Des Moines, Iowa, June 3, 2023 (Ashley Oliver/ Breitbart News)

Popular governors present Florida policies as proof they can “restore American greatness,” Sunshine chooses “freedom over fascism,” pro-life pro-life heartbeat bills and constitutional enforcement and introduced many conservative reforms.

“As president, I will be a dynamic executive. I will go on the offensive. I will work on all matters that matter,” DeSantis vowed.

Some of the attendees Breitbart News spoke to were open-minded, but others said they were “impressed by Ramaswamy,” or an avid Trump and Haley supporter.

Asked if attendees were concerned about Trump’s conspicuous absence, Cedar Rapids’ Dunn told Breitbart News: … trying to pretend “I am the lead dog” when it should have come. You must come after me 』

Haley also threw a veiled jab at Trump, saying, “Don’t complain about what you get as a general, even if you don’t play in this caucus.”

“We have extended the offer,” Ernst told reporters after the event. [to Trump] Come to Roast and Ride. “

“Obviously, as president, there are other considerations as to whether or not I attend an event with multiple candidates,” she continued. “We made the offer. Anyone is welcome here.”

Email Ashley Oliver at follow her on her twitter @asholiver.

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