Washington (CNN) - Mississippi Gov. Haley Barbour is slated to make his first appearance in Iowa as an all-but-certain candidate for the 2012 Republican presidential nomination.
The Iowa Republican Party announced Monday that Barbour will keynote the first in a series of fundraising dinners designed to strengthen county party organizations across the state. Iowa GOP Chairman Matt Strawn said that other "national political leaders" will appear at future dinners.
The Barbour event will take place on March 15 in the Quad Cities, normally a Democratic-leaning part of the Hawkeye State.
Barbour last visited Iowa in October to campaign for then-candidate Terry Branstad, who was elected governor in November.
A Barbour adviser told CNN earlier this month that the governor is planning more visits to key presidential nominating states in the coming months as makes a final decision about whether to make a White House run.
Barbour has said he will announce his intention in April, but his advisers are operating under the assumption that he will enter the race for the Republican nomination.
"We have definitely shifted gears, there is no question about that," the adviser told CNN at the time. "He's running until he says he's not."
Barbour is making no secret of his national ambitions: he returned from a trip to Israel last week just in time to address thousands of right-leaning activists at the annual Conservative Political Action Conference in Washington. The night before the speech, Barbour hosted a private meet-and-greet with about two dozen influential conservative bloggers.