(CNN) – Marco Rubio's heading to Iowa this weekend.
The first-term Republican senator from Florida and possible 2016 GOP White House contender will be in the Hawkeye State to campaign for state senator Joni Ernst, Iowa's GOP Senate nominee.
Rubio will attend a fundraiser for Ernst on Saturday. Later in the day he'll mingle at an annual party hosted by Bruce Rastetter, a top Iowa donor to Republican candidates and causes. Sen. Ted Cruz of Texas, another potential GOP presidential candidate, is also attending the party. The visits were first reported by the Des Moines Register and confirmed by CNN.
This is the second trip to Iowa by Rubio in the past two months. Rubio made a last-minute stop in Iowa the day before the June 2 primary to campaign for Ernst.
Ernst, who's also a lieutenant colonel in the Iowa National Guard and who grabbed national attention earlier this year by touting her hog castrating skills in a campaign commercial, has the backing of some top names and groups among both the tea party movement and establishment Republicans. She went from being a longshot to easily winning the party's Senate nomination.
Rubio decries ‘intolerance’ against same-sex marriage opponents
She now faces off in the midterm elections against Democratic Rep. Bruce Braley. The winner of November's general election will succeed longtime Democratic Sen. Tom Harkin, who is retiring at the end of the year. If Republicans flip Harkin's seat, and five other Democratic held seats, they will control the Senate.
Rubio and 2016
Anytime a possible presidential hopeful visits Iowa - the state that kicks off the presidential caucus and primary calendar – the political world takes notice.
Next month Rubio heads to South Carolina to keynote Rep. Jeff Duncan's annual Faith and Freedom Barbecue. South Carolina holds the first southern contest in the race for the White House.
In May Rubio traveled to New Hampshire, the state that holds the first primary in the race for the White House. He sounded like a presidential candidate, as he headlined the Rockingham County Republican Committee's annual "Freedom Founders" dinner, held at the historic Wentworth-By-The-Sea hotel just outside of Portsmouth. Earlier that day, he headlined a fundraiser for the state GOP, held private meetings with some influential Republicans, and sat down for interviews with local media.
Rubio's said that should he decide to launch a 2016 presidential campaign, he won't run simultaneously for re-election for his seat in the U.S. Senate.
The recent moves by Rubio put the first-term senator back in the 2016 spotlight.
Early last year Rubio's name was near or at the top of public opinion polls of Republicans' choice for their party's 2016 presidential nomination. But Rubio's numbers slipped after his high-profile support for a bipartisan comprehensive immigration reform bill that passed the Senate in June of last year. The measure, which stalled in the House, included an eventual pathway to citizenship for most undocumented immigrants, which is strongly opposed by many conservatives.
Rubio's numbers in 2016 polls quickly faded, and have remained in the single digits in surveys asking Republicans their choice for the party's presidential nomination. Rubio stood at 6%, in the most recent CNN/ORC International poll, which was conducted earlier this month.
Rubio and Cruz won't be the only GOP White House hopefuls in Iowa the next couple of weeks. Sen. Rand Paul of Kentucky, Texas Gov. Rick Perry, former Sen. Rick Santorum of Pennsylvania, former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee, and Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jindal will make stops in the state.
CNN's Peter Hamby and Ashley Killough contributed to this report.