Des Moines Register Political Soapbox to bring 13 presidential hopefuls to the Iowa State Fair

Staff Report
Des Moines Register
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As campaigning for the 2024 Iowa caucuses heats up, the Des Moines Register will again host presidential hopefuls at its Political Soapbox at the Iowa State Fair.

The Register invited nearly 20 candidates who are seeking the Democratic, Libertarian or Republican nomination for president to speak to fairgoers. Candidates had to meet certain eligibility criteria such as campaign activity, political experience and fundraising before receiving an invitation.

This year, 13 of them will take the Soapbox stage.

At the Soapbox, the hopefuls are offered 20 minutes, a microphone and a crowd eager to listen to political pitches. 

The event, held along the Grand Concourse in front of the Horner Service Center, has become an Iowa tradition that also puts the state on the national stage. 

While candidates often don cowboy boots, eat giant turkey legs in the hot August sun and mingle with fairgoers, the Soapbox provides a space for real political discussion. Face-to-face with Iowans, candidates explain and defend their policy positions in front of a live audience. The Des Moines Register will provide coverage and on-demand video from speeches.

The schedule is subject to change. Bookmark for the latest schedule and to find coverage all fair long.

You can also follow updates with our free Iowa Politics Newsletter. Get signed up at

A large crowd gathers to watch a speech at the 2019 Des Moines Register Political Soapbox at the Iowa State Fair.

The 2023 Des Moines Register Political Soapbox schedule:

Friday, Aug. 18

  • Noon: Republican Will Hurd

Saturday, Aug. 19

  • 2:15 p.m. Libertarian Chase Oliver
  • 4:30 p.m. Republican Asa Hutchinson

Coverage from the 2023 Des Moines Register Political Soapbox at the Iowa State Fair

Republican Ryan Binkley, Saturday, Aug. 12

Republican Vivek Ramaswamy, Saturday, Aug. 12

Democrat Marianne Williamson, Saturday, Aug. 12

Democrat Robert F. Kennedy Jr., Saturday, Aug. 12

Republican Nikki Haley, Saturday, Aug. 12

Republican Francis Suarez, Friday, Aug. 11

Republican Perry Johnson. Friday, Aug. 11

Republican Larry Elder, Friday, Aug. 11

Republican Doug Burgum, Thursday, Aug. 10

Republican Mike Pence, Thursday, Aug. 10

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