Biotech millionaire Vivek Ramaswamy seems to be making all the wrong moves on his Iowa tour, raising the question—is the GOP presidential candidate even trying to win?
With the January 15 Iowa caucuses around the corner, Ramaswamy is still trailing behind his Republican opponents, failing to curry favor with new audiences or differentiate himself enough from Trump, in a way that has relegated him to mid-to-high single-digit percentage points.
“If viability were the reason to stay in a race, he’s long since left that behind,” David Kochel, a Republican strategist, told the Associated Press. “If you like Vivek Ramaswamy and what he is saying in this campaign, you already have a candidate, and his name is Donald Trump.”
Ramaswamy’s tactics in the battleground state are questionably counterintuitive for someone actually trying to get his foot in the White House.
On Monday, Ramaswamy nearly begged a diner full of Iowa voters to ask him about his controversial and baseless foreign policy positions, which rival Nikki Haley slammed as Putin-centric during the last GOP debate. “Putin and President Xi are salivating at the thought that someone like that could become president,” Haley said.
Still, one voter took Ramaswamy up on it. “My foreign policy is clear: Stay out of World War III; declare economic independence from Communist China,” Ramaswamy responded.
Yet there may be more to the entrepreneur’s failures in the battleground state than just his eyebrow-raising policy positions. In fact, Ramaswamy’s campaign has spent just a fraction of its marketing budget, booking only $162,000 worth of ads compared to the $8 million it said it would earlier this month, according to data from the media tracking firm AdImpact.
That’s a far cry from the amount invested by the other Republican presidential candidates. So far, Haley and her allied super PAC have spent nearly $3.5 million on advertising while DeSantis and his allies have spent more than $3.3 million, reported the AP.