Iowa back in the 2016 spotlight, again
July 19th, 2013
08:52 AM ET
1 year 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. Dutch/Bad Newz, VA -aka- Take Back The House -aka- No Redemption Votes

    Family Leader's Family Summit, American Renewal Project, blah blah blah. Those great family leaders like Mark Sanford. Ha! Renew America to what? The 1700's? I sure hope Rand and Felipe Cruz run in 2016. Hillary will wipe the floor with them.

    July 19, 2013 09:08 am at 9:08 am |
  2. Joe from CT, not Lieberman

    So when will the Republicans finally trot out the candidate that the rest of the country is willing to vote for? So far between Paul, Cruz, Perry and "SHE WHO MUST NOT BE NAMED" we have only heard from the far-right wingnut branch of the party.

    July 19, 2013 09:14 am at 9:14 am |
  3. nintex

    I expect the birthers and tea partiers to go after Cruz's qualifications for president any minute now – after all, he's less of a "real" American than President Obama is. At least the President was actually born in this country to an American mother; Cruz was born to an American mother, but in a foreign country. I expect a loud outpouring of rage from the tea party for this unbelievable happening – come on, Trump, I'm waiting. . . . .waiting. . . . .

    July 19, 2013 09:17 am at 9:17 am |
  4. Rudy NYC

    from the article:

    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 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.

    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.
    -----------------------
    It's probably a safe bet that not many African-Americans or Latinos will be in attendance at the "Pastors and Pews" event. I wonder when in their schedules that Paul will be able to reach out those groups. It's just words and hot air, if you ask me. After the way Paul spoke to the national convention of the NAACP as if they were kindergartners, I'd be surprised if any African-American group invited him to speak anywhere.

    As for Cruz meeting with minorities ... don't even think about it.

    July 19, 2013 09:20 am at 9:20 am |
  5. Name jk. Sfl. GOP conservatives,the garbage of America.

    Same old GOP clown bus with Cruz the Canadian citizen on board. No chance for any of these rejected GOP losers in 2016!!!!!

    July 19, 2013 09:33 am at 9:33 am |
  6. Dallas

    Really, Cruz or Paul! I'm from Texas and Cruz is an embarrassment to our state. I can't believe we have to endure this man until 2018. Surely the Republicans can find a viable candidate who is not NUTS! I shall be voting for Hillary – no one is more qualified than she is. Come on GOP, find someone worthy to stand on the same stage with her and not look like a fool.

    July 19, 2013 09:42 am at 9:42 am |
  7. Bill

    What a gift to the democrats if these two clowns run. Let's see, Cruz has been a senator for all of six months and the Aqua Buddha, well, he's the Aqua Buddha. Nothing more needs to be said. It is apparent the GOP learned absolutely nothing over the last two general election cycles about choosing candidates who have a chance to win.

    July 19, 2013 09:44 am at 9:44 am |
  8. M.A.P.

    Yeah, like every single dumb evangelicist isn't already going to vote Republican already. Talk about "preaching to the converted"! hahah! GO HILARY 2016!!!

    July 19, 2013 09:44 am at 9:44 am |
  9. Rudy NYC

    from the article:

    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.
    -------------–
    "...because his mother is an American-born citizen." Tell that to the birther crowd.

    July 19, 2013 09:46 am at 9:46 am |
  10. M.A.P.

    Oh that was poorly written – I mean "every dumkb evangelist isnt already voting republican anyway. Good point about the Cruz being born in a "foreign" country too. Interesting to see the hypocrite GOP liard try to weasel their was out of that one! The right wing in America is pathetic! They could take some advise from the British Tories and the German CDU parties. They are true functioning modern conservatives.

    July 19, 2013 09:48 am at 9:48 am |
  11. Lynda/Minnesota

    From the article:

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

    "(Republican National Committee Chairman Reince Priebus will also attend both events.)"

    "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."

    Well, good for Iowa. Really. One can never have too many egos a-courting and a-meeting and a-greeting the little people.

    July 19, 2013 09:55 am at 9:55 am |
  12. TONE

    These guys are confident that idiots will vote for them that is why they are considering running for president knowing they cannot win.

    July 19, 2013 10:03 am at 10:03 am |
  13. bassman

    Pres. Obama's policies have left Detroit bankrupt. Maybe its time for 'real change'.

    July 19, 2013 10:04 am at 10:04 am |
  14. Just a thought

    Hey Tea folks...I have to agree with one of the posts above....When are you guys gonna trot out somebody people can vote? Doesn't that sound reasonable? Not only that, doesn't it make you wonder why the rest of the country thinks your party is a loser? Inquiring minds want to know.

    July 19, 2013 10:09 am at 10:09 am |
  15. Lynda/Minnesota

    "So when will the Republicans finally trot out the candidate that the rest of the country is willing to vote for?"

    Hush now, Joe. Be respectful ... this is a Rand Paul "Is The Man" article. He's been stumping, and preening, and giving us his best macho "I've Got This Thing Locked Up" look for months now.

    Cruz, Priebus, Paul Ryan? They are add-on window dressing.

    July 19, 2013 10:14 am at 10:14 am |
  16. NEVER to VOTE REPUBLICAN again

    Bush bankrupted Detroit Stop watching Fox! Was that the headline this morning on coffee chat?

    July 19, 2013 10:18 am at 10:18 am |
  17. Jerry and larry

    Cruz / Palin '16

    Wingnuts unite!!

    July 19, 2013 10:20 am at 10:20 am |
  18. rs

    These two (Issa, Paul) are not the Republican "best and brightest", and don't do a single thing to enhance the party's chance to look like leaders (much less adults). Throw Perry or Romney in the mix and it's 2012 all over again.

    GOP- moderate or die.

    July 19, 2013 10:21 am at 10:21 am |
  19. Fair is Fair

    Rudy NYC

    from the article:

    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.
    -----–
    "...because his mother is an American-born citizen." Tell that to the birther crowd.
    ------
    Obama was born in Hawaii. Clearly. There is no doubt about that whatsoever. The "birther" crowd's arguement, as I understand it, centers around whether there was a renunciation of citizenship at some point in his life. Still quite a stretch if you ask me.

    July 19, 2013 10:22 am at 10:22 am |
  20. Rick McDaniel

    I will IGNORE that, as Iowa is NOT representative of this country, at all, and their gestapo tactics, in controlling politicians, is totally unacceptable to this citizen.

    I am an advocate for ALL politicians to simply ignore and avoid Iowa.

    July 19, 2013 10:22 am at 10:22 am |
  21. Jerry and Larry

    Are Ted and Pablo Cruz related?

    July 19, 2013 10:23 am at 10:23 am |
  22. rs

    bassman

    Pres. Obama's policies have left Detroit bankrupt. Maybe its time for 'real change'.
    __________________________________
    Yes, and Mr. Romney's "Let GM go bankrupt", losing millions more jobs would have accomplished what for Detroit?

    Face it- the GOP HAS no economic plan- except give the rich anoother tax cut. Once you all figure out that didn't work in the past and won't work in the future, we'll all be better off. Meanwhile, where are Boehner's jobs or job bills?

    Want to wreck an economy? Call out the GOP!

    July 19, 2013 10:24 am at 10:24 am |
  23. Tom

    Iowa is known for corn, yet so many nuts go there.

    July 19, 2013 10:27 am at 10:27 am |
  24. Malory Archer

    Look everyone! It's the clown show!

    July 19, 2013 10:29 am at 10:29 am |
  25. Malory Archer

    Rudy NYC

    from the article:

    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.
    -----–
    "...because his mother is an American-born citizen." Tell that to the birther crowd.

    +++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++

    American citizen or not, if he wasn't born on American soil or an American facility such as a hospital on a military base in a foreign nation, he's not eligible. The United States has no military bases in Canada so no two ways about it, unless we change the U.S. Constitution he's ineligible.

    July 19, 2013 10:34 am at 10:34 am |
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