The calendar says 2013, but it feels like 2016
March 19th, 2013
01:16 PM ET
10 years ago

The calendar says 2013, but it feels like 2016

(CNN) – It seems it's really never too early to visit Iowa.

The Hawkeye State's Republican Party announced Tuesday that Sen. Rand Paul of Kentucky, a rising star in the GOP, will headline one of its major fundraising dinners.

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Paul becomes the third Republican who may be thinking of making a bid for the 2016 GOP nomination to pay a visit this spring to the state traditionally kicks off the presidential caucus and primary calendar.

Iowa Republican Party Chairman AJ Spiker made the announcement, saying in an email that "Senator Rand Paul will headline our Lincoln Day Dinner on Friday, May 10th! I'm tremendously excited about it and I wanted to make sure you knew about it right away."

Paul, whose father ran for president three times, has openly discussed the possibility of mounting a bid for the White House in the next presidential election.

Also very public about 2016 is former Sen. Rick Santorum of Pennsylvania, a 2012 GOP presidential candidate. He'll keynote the Iowa Faith and Freedom Coalition's spring meeting on April 15. The Iowa Faith and Freedom Coalition is a leading social conservative group in the state.

Santorum, once considered a long shot in the 2012 nomination hunt, narrowly came out on top in last year's Iowa caucuses, and battled eventual nominee Mitt Romney deep into the primary season.

And Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker will headline the May 23 Polk County, Iowa Republican party fundraising dinner. Walker became a national name and a hero to conservatives two years ago when he pushed through the state legislature a bill that limited the collective bargaining rights of public sector workers. The move sparked massive protests which resulted in a recall election, which Walker won. In interviews over the weekend, Walker said he was open to the possibility of running for president, but on Monday said he loves being Wisconsin governor and is not running for any other office.

While the Iowa caucuses are still more than two and a half years away, for some potential candidates, the clock is already ticking.

"Campaigns for president are no longer twelve month campaigns, they are now three or four year long campaigns, especially for people who have to raise small donations, who can't write their own large checks. They have to start working these things early," John Brabender, a senior adviser to Santourm, told CNN.

And Iowans are used to the attention.

"Iowans take very seriously their responsibility. They truly kick the tires," added Brabender, who's made many trips to the Hawkeye state the past couple of years.

Paul, Santorum, and Walker aren't actually the first of the possible 2016 Republican presidential hopefuls to make a stop in Iowa since last November's presidential election. Sen. Marco Rubio of Florida headlined a birthday fundraiser for Terry Branstad, the Hawkeye State's GOP governor, a few weeks after the election. Rubio aides downplayed any 2016 talk at the time, saying that Branstad ran into Rubio at the Republican convention in Florida last summer and asked him to headline the annual dinner.

Filed under: 2016 • Iowa • Rand Paul
soundoff (11 Responses)
  1. Lynda/Minnesota

    "It seems it's really never too early to visit Iowa."

    Wasn't Rience Priebus saying just yesterday that the RNC wanted to SHORTEN not LENGTHEN the primaries? Something to do with too much conflicting messaging and exposure?

    March 19, 2013 01:20 pm at 1:20 pm |
  2. Rudy NYC

    I wish Rand Paul would run for the GOP nomination in 2016....and wins it.

    March 19, 2013 01:25 pm at 1:25 pm |
  3. Dutch/Bad Newz, VA

    Iowans, please keep your cameras on at all times. You never know what might come out of the mouth of one of these RWNJ. I'm sure we'll have a 47% moment prior to 2016 getting here.

    March 19, 2013 01:26 pm at 1:26 pm |
  4. curious

    Rand Paul is too short to be President.

    March 19, 2013 01:34 pm at 1:34 pm |
  5. Sniffit

    "If the GOP was smart "

    I prefer to accept the reality that they're not instead of talking in hypotheticals that bear no resemblence to reality.

    March 19, 2013 01:48 pm at 1:48 pm |
  6. cbp

    Looking for Republican candidates for 2016 now may be more harmful the candidates. People will grow weary of the constant campaigning and speechmaking. Starting out with Rand Paul is interesting because he will be a more polarizing candidate.

    Every time the race for President begins, those of us who have primaries in March or later do not have an opportunity to cast out ballots for our first choice. By the time we vote we have to choose between 1 or 2 candidates who may not be acceptable. Then when the convention comes around the GOP candidate we favor may not be in the running once again. Oftentimes, we do not want to accept second-best. In the final election we lend our support to the Democratic or Independent candddate.

    March 19, 2013 01:50 pm at 1:50 pm |
  7. Rudy NYC

    cbp wrote:

    Looking for Republican candidates for 2016 now may be more harmful the candidates. People will grow weary of the constant campaigning and speechmaking. Starting out with Rand Paul is interesting because he will be a more polarizing candidate.
    I say let him continue on his merry way. Let's see how many House votes that he misses. Let's see if he can top Michelle Bachmann's horrific voting record. Only three people in the 112th Congress who voted less than Bachmann.

    Two were on extended medical leaves. The third person was the House Speaker, who by tradition typically votes last in order to reserve the privilige of casting the deciding vote should it come down to that. Most votes are decided long before it comes down to the end, and the House Speaker winds up frequently not voting at all.

    March 19, 2013 02:12 pm at 2:12 pm |
  8. rs

    If you're a Republican, it feels like 1934 (or earlier!).

    March 19, 2013 02:14 pm at 2:14 pm |
  9. kayla

    and this is the shinning light? boy oh boy , 2016 can't come soon enough

    March 19, 2013 02:25 pm at 2:25 pm |
  10. Randy, San Francisco

    The Republican Party has not chance of taking back the White House in 2016 unless Karl Rove and establishment leaders stop extreme Tea Party and libertarian candidates like Sen Rand Paul and Santorum.

    March 19, 2013 02:27 pm at 2:27 pm |
  11. Bill

    Come on Aqua Buddha – we dems are all rooting for you in 2016! This guy is nothing but a whiny, little puke, but apparently is the best the GOP has to offer. The GOP – a party wandering aimlessly in the wilderness of political irrelevance.

    March 19, 2013 02:30 pm at 2:30 pm |