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The annual conservative conference entered its second day of speakers including congressional members, media personalities and members of former President Donald Trump's administration. President Donald Trump will address the event on Saturday.
Republican presidential candidate Nikki Haley walks offstage after speaking at the annual CPAC Conference on March 3, 2023 in National Harbor, Md.Anna Moneymaker / Getty Images

Eyes on 2024: South Carolina meets Iowa

Former Gov. Nikki Haley and Sen. Tim Scott campaigned in the Hawkeye State as they look to win over the GOP primary electorate.

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Two South Carolina Republicans are hitting the presidential campaign trail in Iowa this week, with both trying to appeal to GOP voters who are looking for new leadership. 

Former Gov. Nikki Haley and Sen. Tim Scott, who announced Wednesday he’s launching an exploratory committee, campaigned in the Hawkeye State making their pitches to voters, NBC News’ Ali Vitali and Jillian Frankel report from the trail. 

“The same man who’s pitching a hopeful vision of America, also leaned into culture wars and demonized the opposing party—from spending ‘more time on CRT than they do on ABC’ to ‘wide open’ borders,” Vitali and Frankel wrote following Scott’s event in Cedar Rapids.

“The good news is the American people are just fine. It’s the American government that we have to fix,” Scott said.  

Vitali and Frankel also caught up with Haley in Fort Dodge on Tuesday, where Haley pledged to “shake every hand” and “talk to every person.”

Vitali and Frankel note that Haley didn’t mention Trump by name, but made a veiled reference to him by saying, “You’re not gonna see me come in and do a rally and leave.”

The two events underscore the emerging rivalry between Haley and Scott, who are looking to pitch themselves as alternatives to Trump and Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis, the Washington Post reports. 

In other campaign news…

Life’s a beach: NBC News’ Matt Dixon reports that Florida Republican Gov. Ron DeSantis is reaching out to Florida members of Congress to try to get them not to endorse former President Donald Trump. And Politico reports DeSantis is holding a meet-and-greet with Republicans in D.C. this month. 

Trump talk: Trump is in New York to testify in a civil lawsuit related to his real estate business. And one of Trump’s lawyers is asking to delay his civil rape and defamation lawsuit a month, requesting a “cooling off” period after Trump’s unrelated indictment last week. 

Debate night in America: Fox News will host the first GOP presidential debate, with the Young America’s Foundation and the conservative video-streaming site Rumble, in Milwaukee in August.  

Friends forever? The Associated Press reports on how Iowa’s evangelical community is approaching the 2024 presidential bid amid the bond that’s developed with Trump over the last seven years. 

Exploratory explainer: Sen. Tim Scott’s decision to launch a presidential exploratory committee might have you wondering what an exploratory committee is. NBC News’ Megan Lebowitz has you covered

A challenger’s challenge: Florida lawyer Keith Gross announced a Senate bid as a Republican, an uphill bid against GOP Sen. Rick Scott. 

A Trump bump: Trump posted on his Truth Social platform praising businessman Bernie Moreno’s newly announced Senate bid in Ohio, saying “he would not be easy to beat.” 

Peach State primary: Georgia is hoping to experience an economic boost if it becomes an early primary state, NBC News’ Alex Seitz-Wald reports.