DES MOINES — Former South Carolina Governor Mark Sanford — a Republican who’s challenging President Trump’s bid for re-election — is back in Iowa touring restaurants, small businesses and other places where people gather.

“I’m just trying to get the lay of the land here in Iowa and want to meet people…where they shop and where they eat,” Sanford says. .

Armed with campaign brochures, Sanford walked around a shopping district near the Iowa Capitol Monday morning. He chatted with the owners of several businesses. “I’m going to leave y’all with some reading material, if I might,” Sanford says. “I think we need to have a conversation as Republicans about what it means to be a Republican. I think we’ve lost our way on that front.”

Sanford contends the federal government’s record red ink — happening during a Republican’s presidency — will steer the country toward an economic downturn that could be deeper than the Great Depression. Sanford didn’t make speeches on that or other topics on Monday. Instead, he asked questions of Iowans. “I’m bouncing around different places, just trying to get the feel of the Iowa voter,” Sanford told the first businesswoman he chatted with Monday.

Republicans in Sanford’s home state of South Carolina have cancelled their G-O-P Primary and President Trump will receive all of South Carolina’s delegates at the Republican National Convention in 2020.  “The idea of Republicans being for voter suppression just doesn’t strike me to be a good thing to be for these days,” Sanford says. “It’s against the democratic ideals that the party is about and that our country was founded on.”

It shows Trump’s support is — in Sanford’s own words — “a mile wide and an inch deep.”  “In the world of politics, if you have a chance to pick up an 80-95% win, particularly if it’s the ‘First in the South’ Primary, you’d do it all day long,” Sanford says. “The Trump Administration stresses that’s their level of support. If so, it makes no sense.”

Iowa Republicans intend to hold Caucuses on February 3rd and participants will take a straw poll on the G-O-P presidential race. Two other Republicans who say they intend to run against Trump in 2020 have visited the state in recent weeks.