By Pete Schroeder
WASHINGTON (Reuters) - Iowa Governor Kim Reynolds will endorse Florida Governor Ron DeSantis's bid to be the Republican nominee in the 2024 presidential race on Monday, according to a source familiar with the matter.
An endorsement from Reynolds could be a critical boost for DeSantis, who has fallen far behind former President Donald Trump in the race for the 2024 Republican presidential nomination. The DeSantis campaign and Reynolds's office did not respond to requests for comment. NBC News first reported the news.
Reynolds will appear at a DeSantis rally in Des Moines, Iowa, on Monday at 6 p.m. ET (2300 GMT), according to the DeSantis campaign's website.
DeSantis has focused on Iowa, which will be the first to host a nominating contest to decide the Republican nominee, visiting it more often than other states during his campaign. His campaign hopes an early strong performance there could help him close the gap with Trump.
Trump leads in Iowa by nearly 30 percentage points, according to an NBC News poll issued last month.
In apparent response to the reported endorsement, the Trump campaign issued a statement slamming Reynolds for previously claiming she would stay neutral in the race, while insisting any endorsement would not change the outcome in the state.
"Kim Reynolds apparently has begun her retirement tour early as she clearly does not have any ambition for higher office," the campaign said in a statement.
(Reporting by Pete Schroeder and Gram Slattery; Editing by Lisa Shumaker)