DES MOINES — A leading figure in the Iowa Republican Party does not believe that Donald Trump's absence will not change the minds of Iowans with only four days left until the caucuses.
Jeff Kaufmann, chairman of the Republican Party of Iowa, argued that Trump's decision to snub Fox News and debate viewers would not be a "deal-breaker" with many potential caucus-goers, particularly those who already backed Trump to begin with.
"I really think the candidates that were here tonight showed a great deal of class. Every other round of questions, they could have taken a shot at Trump — they didn't do that," Kaufmann told the Washington Examiner after the debate. "They chose for the most part to advance what they believe."
"The people that liked Donald Trump before his decision still like him. I think the people who didn't like him don't like him," said Kaufmann. "I don't know that one event or the absence of one event makes or breaks Iowa voters."
Kaufmann introduced Trump at his Sunday event in Muscatine, telling the Trump supporters they would have his backing if their candidate prevailed.
"I didn't take an oath for this office, but I'll guarantee as the chairman of the [Iowa] Republican Party, if I don't whoever the people hand me as my nominee, I better be behind them 1,000 percent," Kaufmann said elaborating on the comment.
"He made a campaign decision [not to attend], just like people made a campaign decision as to whether they should come to the straw poll. I'm not in the business of helping him make campaign decisions, but I'm in the business of making sure they have opportunities," Kaufmann said. "Donald Trump didn't take this opportunity. I don't think it's going to be a deal-breaker, at least enough of a deal-breaker to change the dynamic."
Trump held court minutes from the site of the GOP debate and was joined by former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee and former Sen. Rick Santorum as they raised money for wounded veterans.