Programming Note: No podcast tomorrow or Thursday. The podcast returns on Friday, December 1.

UPDATE: Win margin in Caddo sheriff’s race still one vote after recount

The final countdown: Trump holds commanding lead over DeSantis, Haley, with 50 days until Iowa caucuses

Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis says that the endorsement from influential Iowa social conservative leader Bob Vander Plaats, as well as the recent backing from Iowa Gov. Kim Reynolds, amounts to ‘a pretty powerful machine’.

As he aims for an upset victory in Iowa’s Republican presidential caucuses, Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis is days away from reaching his goal of stopping in all 99 counties in the Hawkeye State.

The DeSantis campaign says the governor will make his final stop this upcoming Saturday in Jasper County. 

DeSantis is hoping to follow in the footsteps of former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee (2008), former Pennsylvania Sen. Rick Santorum (2012) and Texas Sen. Ted Cruz (2016), who stopped in all 99 counties en route to Iowa caucus victories.

“We’re going to win here. We have what it takes,” DeSantis pledged in a recent Fox News Digital interview in Des Moines, Iowa.

However, DeSantis is currently battling former ambassador to the United Nations and former South Carolina Gov. Nikki Haley for second place in the latest GOP presidential nomination polls in Iowa, far behind former President Trump. The former president remains the commanding Republican front-runner in Iowa, the other early voting states, and in national surveys, as he makes his third straight bid for the White House.

“There are ONLY 50 DAYS LEFT until the very first vote is cast in the 2024 election,” Trump wrote in a fundraising email to supporters this past weekend. “If we completely DOMINATE the Iowa Caucus, then we can emerge as the Presumptive Nominee for President on January 15, 2024.”

Trump has made history as the first former or current president to be indicted for a crime, but his four indictments – including in federal court in Washington, D.C., and in Fulton County court in Georgia on charges he tried to overturn his 2020 presidential election loss – have only fueled his support among Republican voters.

The former president returns to Iowa this weekend, and his campaign is ramping up their ad buys in the final weeks ahead of the caucuses.