Vivek Ramaswamy tore across eastern Iowa on Tuesday at the breakneck pace that has come to define his long-shot presidential campaign.
He stopped just long enough at most of the six restaurants and bars on his itinerary to remind voters he’s still in the race, lingering longer at his final stop of the day. He drew praise for his straightforward, bombastic style. And he made humorous quips, promising to finish Donald J. Trump’s mission of draining the bureaucratic swamp in Washington by “bringing the pesticide” to anything that crawls out.
But the day mostly served as a stark reminder of how deeply Mr. Ramaswamy remains mired in a kind of swamp of his own, trailing far behind his rivals for the Republican nomination and stuck in fourth place in most state polls. In Dubuque, a few minutes before Mr. Ramaswamy arrived at a cozy cocktail bar where he was scheduled to speak, one of his campaign’s surrogates asked the 50 attendees how many planned to caucus for him. Only about five raised their hands.
Some voters at his six Iowa events Tuesday wondered aloud whether he was simply burnishing his credentials for a 2028 presidential run or for a position in Mr. Trump’s cabinet if the former president were to win back the White House.
“I think he’s got a really good chance of that,” said Matt Casey, 49, of a possible role for Mr. Ramaswamy in a Trump administration. “He could probably be the vice president real easy.”
Mr. Ramaswamy, who has largely financed his presidential bid with the money he earned from his shrewd pitches to investors in his biotechnology business, can probably afford to remain in the contest as long as he desires. And he has maintained that he will outperform expectations and pull off an underdog victory on caucus night on Jan. 15. He has argued that many of his supporters are young people and other first-time caucusgoers not being counted in the polls.
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