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Darin LaHood endorses Donald Trump for president ahead of Iowa caucuses

Rep. Darin LaHood (R-Dunlap) and President Donald Trump aboard Air Force One in 2019.
Rep. Darin LaHood (R-Dunlap) and President Donald Trump aboard Air Force One in 2019.

Rep. Darin LaHood is backing Donald Trump's presidential candidacy in 2024.

The Dunlap Republican representing Illinois' 16th Congressional District said he believes Trump is the man to beat heading into the Iowa caucuses — the official kickoff of the 2024 GOP presidential primary elections.

"Throughout the Republican Primary, I have kept an open mind and listened to the other candidates. While I have a great deal of respect for those who have put their names forward in the Republican Primary, President Trump is the clear frontrunner and I believe he can beat Joe Biden in 2024," said LaHood in a statement released Saturday.

As NPR reported Saturday, Trump is running leaps ahead of his GOP rivals in Iowa polls leading up to Monday's caucus. He also leads in polls ahead of the Jan. 23 New Hampshire primary.

LaHood was a honorary co-chair of Trump's 2020 Illinois campaign, but he's also been key in attracting Republican presidential hopefuls like former Vice President Mike Pence and Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis to the Peoria and Tazewell GOP's annual Lincoln Day Dinners in Peoria in the years following Trump's 2020 loss.

LaHood said the country was better off with President Trump in the White House "by every measure." He said President Biden has emboldened American adversaries like Russia, China, and Iran; and also blamed the incumbent president for inflation, weak border security and "Democrat soft-on-crime policies."

“In President Trump’s first term, Illinois families paid less at the pump and grocery store, small businesses flourished, the world was a safer place, and our enemies feared us," LaHood said. "President Biden has eroded all of the gains our country made during the previous administration, and I believe President Trump is the only candidate who can hit the ground running on day one and restore a prosperous America."

Trump is the only U.S. president impeached twice. He currently faces 91 state and federal felony indictments in four separate cases. Those are tied to the Jan. 6, 2021 insurrection, classified documents found at his Mar-a-Lago resort, election interference allegations in Georgia, and charges he falsified business records in New York. It's unclear if any of those cases will go to trial ahead of the November general election.

Trump has maintained his innocence in those cases, and frequently says the charges are politically-motivated "witch hunts."

LaHood, a former federal prosecutor, didn't comment on those indictments in his three-paragraph endorsement. He was among the Republicans who voted to certify the results of the 2020 election.

Tim is the News Director at WCBU Peoria Public Radio.