FORT DODGE, Iowa — U.S. Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene entered a crowded restaurant in north central Iowa to cheers and began throwing red “Make America Great Again” hats to the crowd. She handed the last one to a boy wearing a Donald Trump T-shirt.

Greene, the Georgia Republican, then delivered the first of over a dozen speeches during the two-hour event. The congresswoman from Rome blasted Trump’s chief rival, saying the support former U.N. Ambassador Nikki Haley has cultivated from Democrats and independents should disqualify her from receiving the party’s nomination.

“Nikki Haley is a neocon; that’s the part of the Republican Party we’ve had enough of,” Greene said. “And we don’t need a Republican candidate for president that’s being supported by Democrats.”

The event was one of the Trump campaign’s final efforts to rally support ahead of Monday night’s caucus meetings, the nation’s first presidential contest. Those meetings were scheduled to begin at 7 p.m. Central Time, with results posting later in the evening after press time.

Not every Georgian in Iowa for the caucuses is supporting Trump. State Rep. Scott Hilton traveled with a group of fellow Georgians to Cedar Rapids to do grassroots turnout for Haley’s campaign. That meant phone banking and going door to door through towns such as Marion, Mount Vernon and Ely to encourage Iowans to support Haley .

“Iowa will get that first bite at the apple, and I wanted to be part of that democratic process,” Hilton said. “By time the campaign process gets to Georgia a lot of things will have changed. So it’s awesome to have an immediate impact.”

Hilton and his crew are also getting a lesson in Iowa weather. The temperatures have been so low they dubbed themselves “the frozen peaches.” One trip down a country road ended with a local farmer towing them out of a snowbank.

Although roads and wind conditions have improved since last week’s blizzard, temperatures remained below zero across Iowa. That meant enthusiasm became a big theme of the candidates’ closing messages ahead of the caucus meetings, where grassroots support is essential.

ShinyTop Brewing is a frequent stop for candidates passing through the area. Most Democratic candidates held events there in 2020. Businessman Vivek Ramaswamy, seeking the Republican nomination, campaigned at the restaurant last month.

The crowd that gathered Monday afternoon also heard from high-profile Trump surrogates such as Arizona’s Kari Lake and Florida’s Matt Gaetz, and two other Georgia lawmakers. U.S. Rep. Mike Collins, a Jackson Republican who owns a trucking business, said a Trump presidency could help small businesses such as his prosper again.

Guest speakers including U.S. Rep. Marjorie Taylor (center) pose for a group photograph during a Team Trump campaign event Monday at the ShinyTop Brewery in Fort Dodge, Iowa. (Hyosub Shin /


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“If you’re going to go back to an ‘America First’ agenda — you see it works,” Collins said. “Why not put the guy that made it work back in there to begin with?”

U.S. Rep. Andrew Clyde, who represents northeast Georgia, said the economy and national defense have declined under President Joe Biden.

“I’m a military veteran, too,” he said to applause. “Twenty-eight years in the Navy, three combat tours overseas in Iraq and Kuwait. And I’ll tell you something: Our military has never been stronger than it was under Donald J. Trump.”

Clyde, Collins and Greene each received emails telling them which precinct they were assigned for caucus night.

Elsewhere, U.S. Rep. Rich McCormick continued to stump on behalf of Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis, who was polling in third place in the most recent survey. McCormick greeted volunteers at the campaign’s headquarters and made phone calls encouraging supporters to show up to their precincts and caucus for DeSantis.

McCormick was in the crowd of supporters that cheered on DeSantis as he left his headquarters to attend his final campaign events ahead of Monday’s vote.

Staff writer Patricia Murphy contributed to this report.