A group of Republicans will head to Iowa in January for a “Freedom Summit” that could be the launching point for their bids to be the Republican presidential nominee.
The summit will feature speeches from Republicans with serious presidential ambitions, like Sen. Ted CruzTed CruzThe Hill's 12:30 Report Cruz defends Trump's Taiwan call Ark., Texas senators put cheese dip vs. queso to the test MORE (Tex.), former Gov. Mike Huckabee (Ark.), former Sen. Rick Santorum (Pa.), and former Ambassador to the United Nations John Bolton.
Other Republicans in attendance may not have the obvious ambitions of that group, but will likely be interested to find out where they stand among conservative heavyweights. These include Sen. Mike LeeMike LeeSenate sends annual defense bill to Obama's desk Overnight Healthcare: Medical cures bill finally heads to White House Overnight Energy: Trump taps EPA foe to head agency | Energy reform bill officially dead MORE (Utah), Rep. Marsha BlackburnMarsha BlackburnFCC chairman willing to resign to get colleague confirmed Overnight Tech: AT&T, Time Warner CEOs defend merger before Congress | More tech execs join Trump team | Republican details path to undoing net neutrality Overnight Tech: Big win for Samsung over Apple | Trump to sit down with tech leaders | Trump claims credit for B investment deal MORE (Tenn.), and former Hewlett-Packard CEO Carly Fiorina, who has been mentioned by some as a 2016 dark horse.
“Midterm elections gave our country a dramatic shift in possibilities,” King said in a statement. “It is exactly the right time to bring our national leaders to Iowa to hear them cast a conservative vision for our Nation’s future.”
Potential presidential candidates from both parties lavish attention on Iowa and will make frequent visits to the Hawkeye State during the 2016 campaign cycle, as the state holds outsized influence on the nominating process with its first-in-the-nation caucus.
A candidate’s performance at the caucus can make or break a run for the presidency — in 2008 it launched President Obama onto the scene, and in 2012 it flushed Gov. Tim Pawlenty (R-Minn.) from the field before his campaign ever really started.
“Iowa’s First in the Nation status has created an informed, engaged, and active electorate all eager to begin the evaluation process of potential leaders of the free world,” King continued. “The Iowa Freedom Summit will further energize conservatives and begin the caucus season in earnest.”
New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie (R) has also spent a great deal of time in the state, and participated in King’s annual pheasant hunt, which has a history of attracting GOP presidential contenders.