|Donald Trump hugs Iowa Sen. Joni Ernst. |
(Bloomberg photo by Daniel Acker)
Another reason: Gov. Terry Branstad and other leading Iowa Republicans have gotten behind Trump, because his performance could affect Iowa's hotly contested House and Senate elections, Hohmann writes. "There are also two very competitive U.S. House races, where Trump’s performance at the top of the ticket may determine whether the first-term GOP incumbents survive," while Republican Sen. Chuck Grassley, who has been in office since 1974, is in a much tighter battle than expected.
Another reason is the Iowa caucus, the nation's first presidential voting. Hohmann writes, "GOP leaders believe supporting Trump is necessary to save the caucuses in 2020. Iowans feel their special status kicking off the nominating process is vulnerable and must be safeguarded. The success of Ted Cruz, Rick Santorum and Mike Huckabee in the past three caucuses—and their subsequent failure to win the nomination—gives fodder to the jealous haters on the Republican National Committee who always maneuver behind the scenes to strip the state of influence." (Read more)