Group backing DeSantis rolls out ad campaign hitting Trump over abortion remarks

The conservative advocacy group And To The Republic rolled out a six-figure ad campaign in Iowa hitting former President Trump over his criticism of six-week abortion bans.

The $550,000 ad campaign will target conservatives in Iowa on mail, digital, television and text messaging platforms, according to a release provided exclusively to The Hill on Monday.

The nonprofit advocacy group has been supporting Trump’s rival, Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis (R), since February.

“Protecting innocent life is never a terrible thing or a mistake and that is why it is vital we applaud and thank Governor Kim Reynolds for protecting life,” said Tori Sachs, executive director of And To The Republic. “Conservative governors around the country are leading the battle against the radical left and they should be applauded, not attacked, for their policies dedicated to saving the lives of innocent babies.”

Last month, the former president called DeSantis’s decision to sign a six-week ban on most abortions in the state “a terrible thing and a terrible mistake.”

Reynolds (R) criticized Trump for the comments in a post on X, formerly known as Twitter.

“It’s never a ‘terrible thing’ to protect innocent life,” Reynolds said. “I’m proud of the fetal heartbeat bill the Iowa legislature passed and I signed in 2018 and again earlier this year.”

DeSantis took to the platform to voice his support for Reynolds, writing that he applauded her for “promoting a culture of life.”

The ad campaign comes as Trump dominates in the polls and his allies intensify their focus on the first contest state of Iowa ahead of the caucuses next year. The New York Times reported Friday that the super PAC backing Trump, Make America Great Again, will start airing negative ads against DeSantis in the Hawkeye State. DeSantis has made Iowa a centerpiece of his campaign, working to appeal to the state’s culturally conservative base.

However, an NBC News/Des Moines Register/Mediacom Iowa poll released Monday showed the former president leading among likely GOP caucusgoers, with 43 percent saying he was their first choice. DeSantis and former U.N. Ambassador Nikki Haley tied for second place at 16 percent.

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