Vivek Ramaswamy is barnstorming Iowa and bashing the GOP as he goes

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“If I win Iowa, I’m your next president,” Vivek Ramaswamy says. 

Ramaswamy has been adding that bold phrase to his stump speeches, one of many signs his campaign’s going all-in on Iowa. 

But there’s another phrase he’s added.

 “Ronna McDaniel, the chairwoman of the RNC, should be fired for five failed years of leadership in a party that has become a party of losers,” Ramaswamy said.

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Republican presidential candidate Vivek Ramaswamy has taken jabs at the GOP and is the only GOP candidate calling for McDaniel’s resignation. (Robyn Beck/AFP via Getty Images)

In the critical weeks before the Iowa caucus, the Ohio biotech entrepreneur and Republican presidential candidate has retooled his stump speech, adding harsh jabs at GOP leaders. In his appeal to “non-establishment” voters, he is the only Republican presidential candidate calling for McDaniel’s resignation. 

“I would have a role in making sure that she was sidelined and was no longer the chairwoman of the RNC [as president],” Ramaswamy said during a recent gaggle with reporters. “If you took an average person off the street, they would do a better job at that role than Ronna McDaniel. You’d be hard-pressed to say with that record that she’s the best person for the job.”

Ramaswamy is also calling out Republican Party leaders at the local level. 

He called out popular Republican Iowa Gov. Kim Reynolds, challenging her to be forthright about her stance on eminent domain for carbon capture projects in Iowa. The use of eminent domain would allow the government to intervene to force landowners to allow the installation of carbon capture pipelines on their property. 

Iowa residents are overwhelmingly against the installation of pipelines and praise Ramaswamy for his stance. He spent nearly an entire 25-minute gaggle Nov. 29 in Des Moines, Iowa, on the issue, calling it “unconstitutional and illegal.”

Vivek Ramaswamy speaking into microphone, talking to Iowa voters sitting at/around a table

Vivek Ramaswamy speaks to voters in Clarion, Iowa. (Fox News)

“The deafening silence of other Republicans who have not even been able to articulate a stand on this issue. It says a lot about the broken — and I would go so far as to say corrupt — state of the establishment of the Republican Party in Republican politics today,” said Ramaswamy. “I challenge Gov. Reynolds to make clear — is she really on the side of eminent domain or not?”

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One attendee at Ramaswamy’s speech on the pipeline issue agreed. Amy said she campaigned for Gov. Reynolds and is disappointed in the lack of dialogue from the governor on the issue.

“I’d like to see the governor of our state follow through and be more open to the public about this issue,” said Amy. “I’m just going to urge her to be the person that we elected.”

Following his fourth debate appearance, Ramaswamy is back in the Hawkeye State creating an aggressive ground game in Iowa, holding more than two dozen campaign events in one week. He moved his campaign headquarters from Ohio to New Hampshire and Iowa. Earlier this month, he held the grand opening for his Des Moines-based campaign headquarters. This came after he rented an apartment in the Hawkeye State.

Vivek Ramaswamy speaks to a crowd of supporters in Iowa, holding a microphone surrounded by Vivek Truth campaign posters and backdrop

Vivek Ramaswamy speaks at the grand opening of his Iowa-based campaign headquarters in Des Moines, Iowa. (Fox News)

The looming question is will Ramaswamy’s last-minute effort make a difference. Jordan, from Mt. Ayr says he believes Ramaswamy’s efforts will matter in the upcoming caucus.

“He wants to move the country forward, and I think that’s what we need right now,” said Jordan.

“I’m with him all the way down the line. He’s just. He will touch, and he is ready to engage on things, no other politician will touch,” said Bill Rob from Webster City, Iowa.

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Ramaswamy says he is on track to complete the “Full Grassley” twice by the Iowa caucus. The term, coined by longtime Iowa Sen. Chuck Grassley, is a staple in Iowa politics. The senator travels to all 99 counties in Iowa annually. Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis just completed the 99-county tour, saying, “I think I’m the only candidate that said he’s going to do it.”

Vivek Ramaswamy in the center with arms around supporters in Iowa smiling

Vivek Ramaswamy with workers in Ida Grove, Iowa. (Fox News)

Ramaswamy said he’s already completed it.

“It’s a very different mentality from the way other candidates think. My guess is it’ll end up being whatever the expression is, ‘Full Grassley’ and then some. But I’m not doing this to check a box and then wear a T-shirt and say I did it,” said Ramaswamy.

With the Iowa caucus nearly a month away, Ramaswamy is polling at 4% nationally and in Iowa, according to a Monmouth University Poll and Des Moines Register/NBC News Poll.

He is trailing Nikki Haley and DeSantis, who are tied for second in Iowa polls but are still double digits below frontrunner former president Donald Trump.

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Ramaswamy has made a point to broaden his stump speech to include topics from carbon capture pipelines to foreign policy and faith. Recently, he has suggested his audience at campaign stops ask him about his faith and foreign policy. The border and religion rank among the most popular topics asked at his campaign events.

But one attendee at Ramaswamy’s event was not on board with the candidate’s stance on these issues. Lou from Lake Mills, Iowa, says Ramaswamy does not have the right experience.

“I honestly think it lacks substance,” said Lou. “He didn’t serve in the military. He built businesses. He’s never had to stake anything or go over there and see what it’s like. So, I would say that he probably needs somebody to advise him better.”

Lou, a male Iowa resident wearing a baseball cap and hoodie speaks to Fox News about Vivek Ramaswamy

Lou, a resident in Lake Mills, Iowa, says Ramaswamy’s background lacks substance.  (Fox News)

Ramaswamy has been trying to win over Iowans on his Hindu faith and has not held back when discussing the topic. One member at a town hall in Ida Grove took the bait, asking if he believed in the “Judeo-Christian God of this country.” Ramaswamy thanked him for the question, before adding: “Thank you for asking because this feels like it’s an elephant in the room.” 

Ramaswamy delves into long-winded answers about his faith, often quoting the bible.

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Winning over the evangelical vote in Iowa is critical, as a majority of Republican voters in the state are evangelical Christians. Ramaswamy is polling at 7% among evangelicals in the state, according to a Des Moines Register/NBC News Poll.

Sam, from Mapleton, Iowa, said she was taken aback when she found out about his faith. She said faith has a “tremendous” impact on who she will caucus for and says many Iowans feel the same.

“I was shocked when they said he was a Hindu. My heart kind of dropped because I thought, ‘This means I can’t support him anymore because he’s not a Christian.’”

Although she’s a fan of Ramaswamy, she isn’t set on caucusing for him.

“We will be caucusing. I think that we need to still listen to some more things,” said Sam. “I still have a few questions that I’d like answered from Vivek.”

Fox News asked Ramaswamy at a campaign event in Lake Mills, Iowa, if standing out to evangelical voters is a priority for him. 

“It is, and I think it’s through radical candor and honesty,” said Ramaswamy. “I think we’re going to be successful in winning many of them to our side.”

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If Ramaswamy is unsuccessful in winning the GOP nomination, voters are curious about what’s next for him.

“The only thing I want to know for sure is if we support him and Trump pulls through, is he still going to stay in politics or is he going to go back to being the CEO?” asked Sam.

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