Some Iowa GOP caucusgoers are shopping for a Trump replacement

DES MOINES, Iowa — Iowa Republicans say they've supported the same candidate for most of the election cycle, a factor in former President Donald Trump's large lead into Monday night.

But those who have changed their minds are often shopping for a replacement for the GOP front-runner and could play a significant role in the race for second place.

According to a recent NBC News/Des Moines Register/Mediacom poll, 65% of GOP caucusgoers said they supported their first-choice candidate through the entire campaign, while 27% said they supported a different candidate at one point. We plan to support on Monday.

Several caucusgoers who switched candidates told NBC News that they once supported Trump but now see former UN Ambassador Nikki Haley, Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis and entrepreneur Vivek Ramasamy as their front-runners.

“I still want to [Trump]. I'm worried about all the tests and feel like going to these events. And, you know, I think it's going to take up a lot of his time,” said Larry Kagan, 54, who supported Trump before planning to caucus Haley in Dallas County.

“I can tell that [Trump] Really don't get to come to Iowa very often,” Kagan added.

Mary Davie, 59, plans to caucus in Mills County for DeSantis, but said she is a Trump fan.

“I supported Trump … but he's doomed from the start,” Davey told NBC News, “and I'm at the point where I think we need someone who can win … We need to see someone who can actually win the election.”

Davey added, “I really like what DeSantis has to say, and I think if he's as honest as he says it is [winning] Very likely.”

Other caucuses have been against Trump since the start of this cycle, and have shifted their support among his opponents.

Mason Bleam, 34, plans to caucus in Polk County for Haley after endorsing DeSantis in the previous cycle.

“Who has the best kind of presence for international relations, you know, they have some talent in their background, you know, so I moved from, you know, a very staunch DeSantis supporter of Nikki Haley,” Bleam told NBC News.

“I was very impressed with her makeup, demeanor, delivery and found it inspiring enough to switch support,” she added.

Quinn Dahlhauser, 41, plans to caucus for DeSantis in Kossuth County, considering throwing her support behind all non-Trump candidates.

“I was looking for someone other than Donald Trump at the time,” Dahlhauser said.[DeSantis] Got a record of actually doing things.”

Dalhauser added, “I don't see that we're going to have much of a chance to vote for someone with a lot of moral virtue like him.”

Joe Cotton, 59, plans to caucus for Haley in Dallas County, where Haley dropped out of the race in November, and South Carolina Sen. There was a split between Tim Scott.

Now, he's backed Haley, saying, “I like that she's got executive experience as a governor, and then, of course, foreign policy experience at the United Nations.”

Cotton was adamant against endorsing Trump and neither DeSantis nor Ramasamy.

“I don't think so [Trump’s] A true conservative or a Republican,” Cotton told NBC News, “I think Ron DeSantis is more 'Trump-lite,' and Vivek Ramasamy is a 'Trump-lite' likeable.

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