Campaign Almanac: Presidential candidates to speak at Des Moines Register Political Soapbox

The Des Moines Register will host 13 presidential candidates at this year’s Political Soapbox at the Iowa State Fair, the paper announced Thursday.

The top two Republican primary contenders — Former President Donald Trump and Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis — will be skipping the stage. South Carolina U.S. Sen. Tim Scott is also not scheduled to speak.

The Register’s Political Soapbox is a long-running institution at the Iowa State Fair, regularly hosting both Republicans and Democrats running for president as they seek the support of Iowans in the first-in-the-nation caucus state.

This year, 10 Republican candidates, two Democrats and one Libertarian will speak at the Soapbox. The schedule runs from Aug. 10 to 19.

In addition to the Soapbox, Republican Gov. Kim Reynolds will hold an interview series with candidates, called “Fair-Side Chats” throughout the fair. Trump did not accept the invitation to participate in that event either, but 12 other Republican presidential candidates will participate.

Trump faced criticism earlier this month for attacking Reynolds over her commitment to remaining neutral in the 2024 caucus contest.

The schedule is subject to change, and any updates can be found at The current schedule for the Political Soapbox is as follows:

Thursday, Aug. 10

•1:30 p.m.: North Dakota Gov. Doug Burgum, Republican

•4:30 p.m.: Former Vice President Mike Pence, Republican

Friday, Aug. 11

•11:15 a.m.: Miami Mayor Francis Suarez, Republican

•Noon: Michigan businessman Perry Johnson, Republican

•1:30 p.m.: California radio talk show host Larry Elder, Republican

Saturday, Aug. 12

•11:15 a.m.: Texas pastor Ryan Binkley, Republican

•Noon: Ohio biotech entrepreneur Vivek Ramaswamy, Republican

•1:30 p.m.: Author Marianne Williamson, Democrat

•2:15 p.m.: Robert F. Kennedy Jr., Democrat

•3 p.m.: Former South Carolina Gov. and U.N. Ambassador Nikki Haley, Republican

Friday, Aug. 18

•Noon: Former Texas U.S. Rep. Will Hurd, Republican

Saturday, Aug. 19

•2:15 p.m. Chase Oliver, Libertarian

•4:30 p.m. Former Arkansas Gov. Asa Hutchinson, Republican

Ohio biotech entrepreneur and Republican presidential candidate Vivek Ramaswamy will appear in a Spaces event on Twitter, now known as X, alongside the site’s owner Elon Musk and investor David Sacks shortly before taking the stage at a major Iowa Republican fundraiser on Friday.

The Space will be held at 3:30 p.m. on Friday. Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis also participated in a Spaces conversation with Musk and Sacks to announce his presidential candidacy in May.

Ramaswamy is one of 13 Republican candidates set to speak at the Iowa GOP’s Lincoln Dinner on Friday.