Although we remain almost two years away from the 2016 Iowa Caucus, it will seem much closer over the next couple of months. A slew of potential Republican presidential candidates will descend on our first-in-the-nation state very soon. Scott Brown, Ted Cruz, Mike Huckabee, Rick Perry and Rick Santorum are all planning visits to Iowa over the next several weeks.
The flurry of activity shows potential candidates, spanning the Republican spectrum, are already testing the waters in Iowa and laying the groundwork for a bid at our nation’s highest office.
Texas Governor Rick Perry plans to visit with Iowa business leaders and tape an episode of “Iowa Press” at the end of February. After a disappointing finish in the 2012 Iowa Caucus, Perry has returned to Iowa a handful of times and has made it known he would not mind taking another shot at winning the GOP nomination.
Texas Senator Ted Cruz has been a frequent visitor to Iowa over the past year and has already garnered significant grassroots support in the state. Cruz will speak at the annual NICHE “Homeschool Day at the Capitol” and headline a Cerro Gordo County GOP fundraiser on March 18.
Former Massachusetts Senator Scott Brown visited the Iowa State Fair last year and headlined a dinner for the Scott County GOP. This time, he plans to visit a different corner of the state, serving as the keynote speaker at county GOP fundraiser in southwest Iowa in early April. Exact details of that event will be announced very soon.
2008 Iowa Caucus winner Mike Huckabee has remained in the mix of speculative 2016 candidates, although he declined to run in 2012. Huckabee will keynote the Iowa Faith and Freedom Coalition’s Spring Kickoff on April 8.
Rick Santorum has remained active in Iowa since his 2012 caucus victory. The former Pennsylvania senator has returned a number of times. He also made endorsements in two Iowa congressional races, backing Matt Schultz in the Third District primary and Walt Rogers in the First District. Plans for Santorum’s pending visit have not yet been announced.
The early visits by the presidential hopefuls once again show Iowa’s importance in the presidential selection process. It also shows the Republican field is wide open. That is a stark contrast to the Democrats, who seem destined to coronate Hillary Clinton as the heir apparent to Barack Obama.
Fischer Decides Against State Senate Run
David Fischer resigned as co-chair of the Republican Party of Iowa last month so that he could run for the Iowa Senate in District 15. Now, Fischer has changed his mind and opted not to run.
He announced the decision on his Facebook page Tuesday night:
“After much consideration, I have decided I will not file papers next month to be a candidate for Iowa State Senate in 2014. Much to my surprise, a great opportunity has just presented itself that I owe it to my family to explore. Please know that my commitment to elevating our message of freedom, prosperity, and peace is undiminished and you can count on me to continue my work to advance these principles in 2014 and beyond.”
Fischer promised to refund all donations he has received and to stay “politically engaged”. The decision to opt out of a state senate run came after several months of flirting with a U.S. Senate run, which included several sponsored Facebook ads for a “Ron Paul Republican” in the senate.
Kum and Go executive Crystal Bruntz is vying for the SD 15 seat. Former Jasper County GOP Chair Patrick Payton was planning to run, but has opted to compete in House District 29.
Senate District 15 is served by longtime Democrat Senator Dennis Black. Democrats outnumber Republicans in the district 15,269-13,190. The seat is one of a handful of potential Republican pickups in 2014 that would be necessary to regain the majority in the Iowa Senate. Democrats maintain a 26-24 advantage.
UPDATE: The article has been updated to reflect Patrick Payton’s intention to run the House District 29 seat instead of SD 15.
Photo by Dave Davidson, Prezography.com
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