Dr. Ben Carson will join fellow Republican presidential hopefuls in Iowa next month at a "Freedom Summit," a chance for the former neurosurgeon to display his presidential chops in the early caucus state.


The Jan. 24 event, co-hosted by conservative group Citizens United and Rep. Steve King (R-Iowa), will bring together Republicans seriously considering a White House bid, including Sen. Ted CruzRafael (Ted) Edward CruzGOP deeply divided over Trump's social media crackdown Hillicon Valley: Twitter flags Trump tweet for 'glorifying violence' | Cruz calls for criminal investigation into Twitter over alleged sanctions violations | Senators urge FTC to investigate TikTok child privacy issues Cruz calls for criminal investigation into Twitter over alleged Iranian sanction violations MORE (Texas), former Sen. Rick Santorum (Pa.) and former Hewlett-Packard CEO Carly Fiorina.

Carson addressed a group of Christian conservatives in the Hawkeye State last month after a Bloomberg Politics/Des Moines Register poll in October showed the conservative pundit trailing only 2012 nominee Mitt Romney among likely 2016 caucusgoers. He also is reportedly planning on a trip to Israel later this month.

A CNN/ORC poll of GOP voters released Tuesday found Carson in the same No. 2 spot nationally, drawing 10 percent to Romney's 20 percent in the crowded Republican field.

Carson, who many conservative have urged to launch a White House bid, said in an interview Wednesday on CNN that he would decide before May 1 whether to run.  

"There is no question that we are putting together an infrastructure," he said. "I believe in always being prepared so that if you do make that decision you do not start out behind the eight ball."

Other potential 2016 contenders at the January event include former Ambassador to the United Nations John Bolton and former Gov. Mike Huckabee (Ark.). Former House Speaker Newt Gingrich will attend, though the former GOP presidential candidate ruled out any personal 2016 ambitions in an interview with the Des Moines Register on Wednesday. Republican Sen. Mike LeeMichael (Mike) Shumway LeeGOP deeply divided over Trump's social media crackdown House punts on FISA, votes to begin negotiations with Senate House cancels planned Thursday vote on FISA MORE (Utah) and Rep. Marsha BlackburnMarsha BlackburnBipartisan senators call for investigation of TikTok's child privacy policies Sunday shows preview: States begin to reopen even as some areas in US see case counts increase Commerce Department cracks down on Huawei's access to chips MORE (Tenn.) will also attend.

Two major likely Republican presidential contenders not on the schedule: Sen. Rand PaulRandal (Rand) Howard PaulSecond senator tests positive for coronavirus antibodies Senate Democrats pump brakes on new stimulus checks Tim Kaine tests positive for COVID-19 antibodies MORE (R-Ky.), who has repeatedly visited the state, and New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie (R), who in October spoke at a luncheon for at King's annual pheasant hunt, which has attracted past GOP contenders.