By Kate Sullivan, CNN
(CNN) — Former President Donald Trump plans to ramp up his campaign in Iowa over the next several weeks as he looks to solidify his lead over GOP 2024 field in the state that will hold the first presidential nominating contest, according to a Trump campaign spokesperson.
Trump plans to make five trips to Iowa in September and October, starting on Wednesday for a pair of events in Maquoketa and Dubuque. The rest of the events are scheduled for October.
The Trump campaign is also bringing on Alex Meyer, who worked at the Republican National Committee as the Missouri state director for the 2022 midterms and previously was on the RNC’s political data team, to support the campaign’s efforts in Iowa as well as Missouri.
The Gazette was first to report the Iowa travel and Politico was first to report Meyer’s hire.
Trump’s revamped Iowa schedule comes after a lull in campaigning for the former president, who holds a commanding lead over his Republican presidential rivals in national polls. After appearing at the Iowa State Fair in mid-August, Trump went almost four weeks without holding a campaign event before hosting a rally in South Dakota in early September. During that time off the trail, Trump surrendered to Georgia authorities at the Fulton County jail and pleaded not guilty to charges related to his efforts to overturn his 2020 election loss in the state.
Trump will kick off this upcoming stretch of Iowa campaign events with two speeches in eastern Iowa, including remarks at a “Team Trump Iowa Commit to Caucus Event.” It will mark Trump’s eighth visit to the state, which is significantly less than the number of times many of his GOP rivals have traveled to the Hawkeye State.
The increased travel coincides with ramped up activity from MAGA Inc., the super PAC backing Trump’s presidential campaign. The super PAC spent more than $700,000 on new ad bookings last week to addd to its airtime on broadcast and cable in key Iowa media markets. Up until this point the PAC had devoted most of its advertising budget to national campaigns on cable networks.
Trump is trying to navigate campaigning for reelection while being a defendant in multiple criminal trials. The former president faces a sweeping Georgia indictment accusing him of being the head of a “criminal enterprise” to overturn the 2020 election in that state; allegations that he falsified business records linked to hush money payments related to the 2016 campaign; an indictment related to the mishandling of classified documents after he left office; and a separate federal indictment over his efforts to try to overturn the 2020 election results. He has pleaded not guilty to all 91 charges and has denied any wrongdoing.
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CNN’s David Wright contributed to this report.