Iowa back in the 2016 spotlight, again
July 19th, 2013
08:52 AM ET
9 months ago

Iowa back in the 2016 spotlight, again

(CNN) – The 2016 Iowa caucuses may still be two and a half years away, but two possible Republican White House hopefuls head Friday to the state that traditionally votes first in the presidential primary and caucus calendar.

Sen. Rand Paul is making his second trip to the Hawkeye State this year. The Republican from Kentucky will speak to evangelicals gathering at the influential "Pastors and Pews" event, as well as talk with reporters at a news conference in Des Moines. (Republican National Committee Chairman Reince Priebus will also attend both events.)

A press release from RandPAC, the senator's political action committee, says that Paul will be in Iowa "to meet with various leaders in the Evangelical, African American and Latino communities."

During an earlier trip to Iowa this year, as well as stops in the other early primary and caucus voting states of New Hampshire, South Carolina, and Nevada, Paul has mingled with donors and supporters, reached out to grassroots activists, and helped raise money for the party in those states. It appears to be part of his strategy to build stronger bonds with establishment Republicans in the crucial early voting states, while at the same time staying close with the grassroots, tea party, and libertarian crowds, which helped put the ophthalmologist in the Senate in 2010.

Starting late last year, soon after the 2012 presidential election, Paul has been very open about the possibility of running for the White House. He told CNN last November that "I won't deny I'm interested."

And Paul, the son of former Rep. Ron Paul of Texas, who ran for president as a libertarian in 1988 and made bids in 2008 and 2012 for the GOP nomination, has said in numerous interviews that he expects he'll decide next year on whether he'll follow in his father's footsteps.

The other possible presidential contender in Iowa Friday, Sen. Ted Cruz of Texas, is less public about any possible 2016 aspirations.

(Both men were on the same flight to Des Moines, as tweeted by ABC News' Jonathan Karl.)

Cruz, the former solicitor general of Texas who was elected to the Senate last November with strong tea party and other grassroots conservative support, will also speak at "Pastors and Pews," a closed-to-the-press meeting of about 800 pastors and their spouses in Des Moines that is put on by the American Renewal Project.

During his brief visit to the Hawkeye State, Cruz will also headline the Iowa GOP's summer picnic, and he'll attend some smaller, separate meet-and-greets with Republicans.

Cruz made his first pilgrimage to one of the crucial early voting states when he keynoted the South Carolina GOP Silver Elephant Celebration in May. Cruz, who has become an increasingly popular speaker among grassroots Republicans thanks to his blunt conservatism and willingness to take on the GOP establishment in Congress, heads back to Iowa in August to attend another social conservative gathering.

A visit next month to New Hampshire to headline a Republican Party fundraiser and a speech Labor Day weekend at a tea party related event in Florida, another early voting state, are also on his itinerary.

While Cruz's travel plans give the appearance of a man with 2016 on his mind, the senator's advisers say Cruz is fully focused on his work in Congress. Cruz press secretary Catherine Frazier adds that "we've been receiving an overwhelming amount of requests to speak. The senator is willing and excited go anywhere where people want to listen to his vision and message for restoring our nation's economic growth."

And talking to reporters following his Iowa GOP event, Cruz further tamped down on talk of 2016, saying "we just had a presidential race a few months ago...as a voter I think it's premature to decide who we should support."

"Right now the Senate is the battlefield and I think if we focus on substance, the politics will take care of itself," added Cruz.

Cruz's eligibility to run for president has been subject to debate. He was born in Canada to a Cuban father, but his mother was an American citizen. Those close to Cruz say that the senator is an American citizen by birth because his mother is an American-born citizen.

That the "Pastors and Pews" event is drawing both Paul and Cruz to Iowa is no surprise. Evangelicals and other social conservatives are an influential force when it comes to Iowa Republican politics, and a force in the caucuses.

The social conservative event Cruz is returning to Iowa on August 10 to attend, the Family Leader's Family Summit, will also draw Sen. Marco Rubio of Florida, another possible White House contender, as well as former Sen. Rick Santorum of Pennsylvania and Texas Gov. Rick Perry, two 2012 GOP presidential candidates who may make second runs for the GOP nomination.

Another potential Republican 2016 contender, House Budget Chairman Paul Ryan of Wisconsin, is also returning to Iowa later this year. CNN has confirmed that the 2012 GOP vice presidential nominee will headline Republican Gov. Terry Branstad's birthday event and fundraiser on November 16.


Filed under: 2016 • Iowa • Rand Paul • Ted Cruz
soundoff (62 Responses)
  1. Rudy NYC

    Ron L

    It is July 2013, why in the world are we talking about 2016 when there is so much work to be done between now and then.
    ---------–
    Because most of the Incredibles party went into epileptic seizures when Pres. Obama won the 2012. Witness Karl Rove.

    July 19, 2013 12:46 pm at 12:46 pm |
  2. Sniffit

    "why in the world are we talking about 2016 when there is so much work to be done between now and then. "

    Shhhhhh, the MSM is busy helping the GOP/Teatrolls prevent anything from being done for the next 3 years. You're not supposed to point it out.

    July 19, 2013 12:47 pm at 12:47 pm |
  3. just sayin

    Ron L
    It is July 2013, why in the world are we talking about 2016 when there is so much work to be done between now and then
    --

    because the country can't wait to get a competent person in the white house. obama has shown he is not up to the task. 5 years and counting of record unemployment, record debt and now the obamacare disaster is knockin gon the door.

    July 19, 2013 12:59 pm at 12:59 pm |
  4. rs

    I think the GOP is focusing on 2016 as a way of avoiding the ugly reality that they have done nothing for 5 years, and this gives them the means to do nothing for another three. What they are not counting on is the irreparable harm they are doing to what's left of their brand.
    The GOP is simply proving to America- they've got nothing. No policies, no vision, no morals, no candidates.

    July 19, 2013 01:01 pm at 1:01 pm |
  5. ST

    They should not waste their time and money for nothing. No republican is going to sit in the White House in the near future. The way they have been treating women, ignoring latinos on immigration reform, doing nothing and opposing everything, good thinkers are not going to let them lead anyone.

    July 19, 2013 01:06 pm at 1:06 pm |
  6. apteacher

    ST,
    Women are not solidly in the camp for Dems. You are spinning with the "war on women" thing. Lets be honest, women are just as split over abortion as anyone.

    July 19, 2013 01:16 pm at 1:16 pm |
  7. it must be said

    Democrats started immediately talking about Hillary Clinton running in 2016. The love affair with Obama was over after all the scandals broke. Whoever runs in 2016 is going to have one hell of a mess to clean up after 8 yeras of Obama. The country will be a total mess economically and fiscally. And then if Obamacare hasn't been repealed and replace yet, the collapse of the healthcare system.

    July 19, 2013 01:18 pm at 1:18 pm |
  8. Hector Slagg

    People that make too much sense should never be elected president. And those my friends are the cold hard facts. Who wants to straighten out this huge mess anyway.

    July 19, 2013 01:19 pm at 1:19 pm |
  9. Steveo

    @Hector Slagg
    People that make too much sense should never be elected president. And those my friends are the cold hard facts. Who wants to straighten out this huge mess anyway.
    ---------
    No doubt it will be and IS hard work BUT we better hope the messes are straightened out. If not they will only fester and get worst!

    July 19, 2013 01:26 pm at 1:26 pm |
  10. tom l.

    If the tea party can accept Cruz as being a U.S. Citizen then they just proved to the world that all of their hollering and screaming was actually because of the black man being elected president. As we all knew the GOP/TP Klan is racist and hypocritical of anyone who is not pure white. Please put these two clowns up to run as presidential candidates, I dare you.
    ______________________________
    Proof of the GOP/TP's racism came from the Tea Party Rally yesterday in Washington. Ken Crow- co-founder of the TEA Party Community, with Sarah Palin at the podium said:
    "From those incredible blood lines of Thomas Jefferson and George Washington and John Smith. And all these great Americans, Martin Luther King. These great Americans who built this country. You came from them. And the unique thing about being from that part of the world, when you learn about breeding, you learn that you cannot breed Secretariat to a donkey and expect to win the Kentucky Derby. You guys have incredible DNA and don’t forget it."

    The GOP is dead until it loses the wackos. Paul, Issa, King, Cruz, Palin and more typify the radical fringe that is killing the GOP.

    That is the most awesome comment of all time. You are so caught up in trying to prove the point about the TEA Party opposing Obama merely due to his skin pigmentation. They are backing one of their favorites... Ted CRUZ. He father is Cuban which clearly means he is not white (I'm going by the Obama rule here). Thank you for pointing out how the TEA Party doesn't care about race whatsoever as proven by your comment. They will back a person based on the content of his character and not the color of his skin. Much appreciated.

    July 19, 2013 01:26 pm at 1:26 pm |
  11. rs

    it must be said

    Democrats started immediately talking about Hillary Clinton running in 2016. The love affair with Obama was over after all the scandals broke. Whoever runs in 2016 is going to have one hell of a mess to clean up after 8 yeras of Obama. The country will be a total mess economically and fiscally. And then if Obamacare hasn't been repealed and replace yet, the collapse of the healthcare system.
    ___________________________________
    1. This might make sense if anyone believes the GOP-created scandals hold water. So far, not so much.
    2. There can be no argument the nation is far, far better off than when the GOP and Bush handed it over in 2008.
    3. The GOP HAS NO Healthcare plan or policy. The ACA is law, and it is working.

    July 19, 2013 02:53 pm at 2:53 pm |
  12. Name jk. Sfl. GOP conservatives,the garbage of America.

    The teaparty clown and peewee Herman look a. Like and bland Paul should hook up on the GOP ticket in 2020 or. 2030 after the GOP is out of power for about four election cycles!!!! If Cruz can prove he's an American and not a Canadian. Where's trump the bafoons????

    July 19, 2013 02:54 pm at 2:54 pm |
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