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Candidates Visit Iowa State Fair

Photo from the Ron DeSantis Facebook page.

Republican presidential hopefuls descended on the city of Des Moines over the weekend, shaking hands and flipping burgers at the Iowa State Fair in a bid to connect with voters. The festivities have become a quadrennial obligation for candidates due to the state's position as the first primary vote. The Jan. 15 Iowa caucus results provide momentum to top vote-getters heading into the rest of the primary slate—though they've only predicted the eventual GOP nominee three times since 1976.

Much of the attention focused on former President Donald Trump and Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis, who avoided direct contact while meeting with crowds. Trump currently leads DeSantis by almost 30 points in the fair's informal straw poll.

The events come ahead of next Wednesday's first Republican presidential debate in Milwaukee, Wisconsin. Eight candidates in the crowded primary field have qualified to be on the stage (see list)—though Trump has not yet confirmed whether he will attend.

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