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One of former President Donald Trump’s top advisers in Iowa says there was “no question” about holding Trump’s first rally since last November’s election in the state where the presidential nomination calendar for half a century has been turned off.

And that spot is the Iowa State Fairgrounds in Des Moines.


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“The best thing about the Iowa State Fair – we have lots of parking, lots of space. The president has been here before. He loves the Iowa State Fair. What could be better than the place we have here now? Trump’s political adviser and veteran GOP operative Eric Branstad told Granthshala News on the eve of Saturday’s rally.

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But more than the logistics, there are plenty of political precedents for holding a Saturday rally in the fairgrounds.

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“Everything about the Iowa State Fair says politics,” said David Koechel, a longtime Iowa-based GOP adviser. “It’s zero for the Congress race, the Senate race, the governors race, and most importantly the presidential race. Anyone who has run seriously for president in the past few decades has won corn dogs, buffalo chip throwing contests.” Spent some time around, and all the stuff coming to the Iowa State Fair.”

Kochel, a veteran of several Republican presidential campaigns, said that Beyond Politics “the fair connects with Iowa’s agricultural history. It’s something everyone connects with.. It’s a cultural touchstone in our state.”

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Trump is no stranger to the fairgrounds. Trump stumped at the 2015 Iowa State Fair as he ran for the 2016 GOP presidential nomination. And he returned at the end of the year to rally ahead of the caucus.

Workers at the site of former President Trump's Iowa rally finalize the venue at the Iowa State Fairgrounds on the eve of the event in Des Moines, Iowa, October 8, 2021

While campaigning at the 2015 state fair, Trump broke some cardinal rules.

He arrived by helicopter and dropped questions into the famous Des Moines Register soapbox, where Iowa voters have questioned White House candidates for years. Despite this, Trump was surrounded by the media, supporters and fair-goers.