The Iowa caucuses will be the final opportunity for the GOP to put together a platform to run against Donald Trump and will have to rely on what it has and what it can accomplish.
But with a new president in the White House and Republican-controlled Congress, there are several areas that have yet to be worked out.
In particular, Trump will be seeking to shift the focus away from the opioid crisis, which has cost the state’s economy more than $2 billion in the past two years.
“It’s important for us to get back to the basics,” said Jeff Kauffman, a Republican state senator from Iowa who is running for re-election.
“We’ve seen the opioid epidemic and we’ve seen how it impacts our economy and our people.”
The president has repeatedly said that he wants to put the opioid issue behind him, even as his administration has focused on the opioid addiction crisis.
His administration has proposed several different opioid policies, from rolling back some federal restrictions to ramping up the use of prescription opioids to expanding access to treatment programs.
“I am not going to let this go,” Trump said in May.
But that plan is still being tested.
In Iowa, it will be a difficult sell for Trump, as his support is low.
Only 37% of Iowa voters support Trump’s plan to reduce opioid addiction, according to the latest Quinnipiac poll.
His base, which Trump has courted with his anti-drug rhetoric, is split evenly, with 47% saying they support the plan and 45% opposing it.
“He’s trying to shift our focus away,” said Steve Wohlschlegel, a political scientist at Iowa State University who has studied the state.
“What we need is a real national conversation about the need to address the opioid problem.”
The opioid crisis in Iowa has become one of the state, along with its economy, that Trump has promised to tackle, though he has struggled to take on the issue in his first 100 days in office.
Last week, Trump released a list of more than 100 proposed executive actions he would pursue in his administration to combat the opioid and opioid-related violence that he said were “far too little, far too late.”
Among the proposed actions: opening a national registry of drug users and increasing penalties for individuals convicted of possession and trafficking in opioids; banning the importation of prescription painkillers from Mexico and increasing the price of fentanyl and other opioids; making it easier for doctors to prescribe opioids to patients; increasing oversight of doctors prescribing opioids; and making it harder for doctors and patients to sue each other.
“Trump is trying to move away from his rhetoric on opioids,” said Kauffmen, who said the president has been less vocal on the problem.
But Wohleschlegels said that Trump’s rhetoric has been a “huge distraction” from the substance abuse epidemic.
“The president has made it clear he will not go out of his way to take action on this issue,” he said.
Wohlerslegel said he would like to see the administration focus on reducing opioid addiction in the first 100 hours after the Iowa caucuses, rather than the week after, which would give Trump time to build momentum and build the infrastructure necessary to win the state back.
“There’s a lot of momentum behind the idea that we need to make the state more resilient,” Wohlspelslegel added.
Trump will also be in the state to visit the state for a weekend visit with family and friends.
In the coming weeks, Trump is expected to meet with congressional leaders and push for changes in health care and tax policy.
And he will likely travel to the state next week to announce his plans for a border wall, which many Republicans have called a top priority of his presidency.
But many Republicans say the president will need to focus on other issues.
“People are tired of the constant attacks on his agenda,” said Jason Miller, an Iowa Republican who is trying his hand at the statehouse.
“For the first time in a while, we have a president that is going to have to focus more on the issues, because he’s not going in there to be a hero.
He’s going in to take down the status quo.”
This story has been updated to include comments from the Trump administration.
Follow Ryan McCaffrey on Twitter at @RyanMcCaffrey or email him at [email protected]