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Donald Trump contemplates presidential run

BY ALISON SULLIVAN | MARCH 04, 2011 7:20 AM

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Iowans may get the chance to shake Donald Trump’s hand during the next caucus season.

The high-profile businessman told the Des Moines Register he’s interested in entering the presidential-nomination race as a Republican hopeful. He said he could decide whether he will run for the 2012 Republican presidential nomination by June — and if he does, the billionaire would campaign aggressively in Iowa.

“I will meet many, many people — maybe all of the people” in Iowa, Trump told the Register. “If I decide to run, I will shake hands with everybody.”

Locals said Thursday they think Trump’s name recognition and fame could help him in the election, but he’ll need to prove himself to Iowans by answering their questions before winning them over.

One of Trump’s top aides will visit Iowa on March 7 to meet with Republican leaders and activists to talk about the 2012 presidential campaign, the Register reported Thursday.

Johnson County Republican head Bob Anderson said Trump, who is famous for his real-esate success and reality TV show “The Apprentice,” has a lot more to present to Iowans on his views and stances before voters decide whether to consider the potential candidate.

At the moment, Anderson said, there are more questions about him than answers.

“Iowans take these choices very seriously as they start their election process,” he said.

Paul Deaton, a member of the Johnson County Democrats, said he’s skeptical about Trump’s plans.

“The statement that he would shake the hands of every Iowan … I think is a bit of a hyperbole,” Deaton said.

Though, Deaton said, Trump’s fame could help him in a potential run.

“Because he manages a lot of business concerns, as a businessman, he offers things other [politicians] don’t have,” he said.

The New York resident told the Register he supports the Second Amendment and opposes gay marriage and abortion, and he said he would focus on “economic competitiveness.”

“Donald Trump makes the news already, so you can’t totally ignore it even though people will probably dismiss his chances at running as really slim,” said University of Iowa political-science Associate Professor Tim Hagle. “He may be a little more serious this time.”

Hagle said Trump is “very concerned” about the economic situation, specifically in relation to China.

Trump isn’t the only possible contender for the Republican nomination with plans to visit Iowa.

In February, former Minnesota Gov. Tim Pawlenty spoke to UI students and Iowa City residents, and former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee attended a book signing on Tuesday. Other presidential-nomination hopefuls scheduled to come through Iowa City include Rep. Michele Bachmann, R-Minn., and Rep. Ron Paul, R-Texas.

Ultimately, Trump’s intense personality could pose a challenge when working with a variety of people, Hagle said.

“As president, you can’t just turn to a Congress member and say, ‘You’re fired,’ ” he said.


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