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  • Writer's pictureReid Stevens

Presidential Candidate’s Ideal Campaign Event Spots (in Des Moines)

Donald Trump

The former president likes his rallies as big as he can get them, especially in the biggest venue an area has to offer. I imagine he would value a place that has hosted many greats in their respective fields, namely college basketball, music, and other live performers. Also, because the man loves to claim a record of any kind, a venue in which Trump could break the attendance record. This venue puts him right in the heart of Des Moines, where he would be the center of attention for the day and steps away from the top luxury hotels (he is a billionaire, after all) and also less than 15 minutes away from the Des Moines Airport, which can accommodate Trump’s personal Boeing 757 Private Jet. For these reasons, I believe Donald Trump’s ideal campaign event location in Des Moines is Wells Fargo Arena.

Ron DeSantis 

DeSantis’s events happen in all types of venues as he made his way through all 99 counties in 2023, but one constant stuck out for me: his frequency at Pubs or Bar and grill establishments. A requirement for this mock event would also be a decent amount of space for guests to the event proportional to the area, which would be significant considering the population of Des Moines. Still, I believe not as much as some surrounding suburban areas. This pub seems to be into the classics, just like DeSantis, with wood paneling throughout the interior, old beer ads along the walls, and traditional pub fare with some Iowan twists, including the signature Pork Tenderloin. The restaurant’s online bio also states that they host live performances and, assumably, music so that they would have the equipment for a stage and sound system for the Governor. I give Ron DeSantis the Angry Goldfish Pub & Eatery in South Des Moines. 

Nikki Haley

Haley’s campaign events thus far have been a mixed bag. She has spent more time in Iowa than Trump but not as much as DeSantis or Ramaswamy. She has made some stops at local restaurants and coffee shops, including an interesting choice to have a morning stop at Jethro’s BBQ 'n Bacon Bacon in West Des Moines, which Iowa Caucus Projects’ own Ava Severs attended. Click here to hear from her about it! Besides that, however, Haley has held most of her events in dedicated event space, either inside or outside. She has made several stops in Des Moines for stand-alone events or events, including other political figures, such as Joni Ernst's Roast and Ride fundraiser this past June at the Iowa State Fairgrounds. I appreciate Haley’s willingness to keep it outside, so I will give her a great outdoor venue for when the Iowa chill isn’t too harsh. Nikki Haley should hold an event at the Lauridsen Amphitheater at Des Moines’ Water Works Park. 

Joe Biden

This one may be the most unrealistic but also the most simple. Also, if anyone from President Biden’s team is reading this, I would love to help plan this event. As the sitting president, Biden’s time is precious, and he would need a smaller venue to talk to everyone there, as he likes to do. He also ought to incorporate one of his favorite things when he has a moment of leisure time, which, as president, is exceedingly rare: eating ice cream. Therefore, I would give him nothing short of Iowa’s best (that’s right, I said it) Black Cat Ice Cream in the Drake neighborhood. 

Vivek Ramaswamy

It seems that there are very few places that Vivek hasn’t been to in Iowa since his campaign’s launch in early 2023. I would be surprised if every Pizza Ranch in Iowa hasn’t seen him once or twice this year. He also has put on more significant events, such as Vektoberfest in West Des Moines, which all Iowa Caucus Project attended. Click here for my analysis on using a drone show at Vektoberfest or for Sophie Meronek’s recap of the night. There have also been occasions where he has shown up at Des Moines area bars and bought drinks for everyone in attendance. From the events of his that I have attended, I have gathered that while he is earnest about politics, he likes to have a good time doing it. Thus, I believe Vivek should set up at the Des Moines’ Downtown Farmers’ Market and go around talking to people, trying the food, shopping from vendors, and surprising farmer’s market goers with some free stuff.


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