CEDAR RAPIDS — Three potential 2016 GOP presidential candidates will try to convince Iowa Republican activists they’ll be worthy of consideration when the first-in-the-nation precinct caucuses roll around 18 months from now.
None of them are strangers to Iowa GOP activists. One of them, former Pennsylvania Sen. Rick Santorum, won the 2012 precinct caucuses. Kentucky Sen. Rand Paul and Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jindal have made previous visits.
The trio of 2016ers will address the more than 2,000 of what state GOP Chairman Danny Carroll calls the “most active and avid Republican activists.” They’ll be meeting at 10 a.m. Saturday at Hy-Vee Hall in Des Moines to nominate candidates for lieutenant governor, attorney general and treasurer, and debate the party’s platform.
Not that they’ve asked, but Carroll would advise them to “really focus on the fundamentals of the Republican Party platform and the base that supports those fundamentals.”
Even though they aren’t strangers — and have probably met with and or talked to many of the convention delegates and alternates — Carroll says their visits are more introductory than anything.
“Even though he won the 2012 caucuses, Santorum, like the others, understands the 2016 cycle is a new election,” the former state legislator said. “So there’s been some things change. They recognize that and recognize they need to reassert and re-establish themselves.
“They need to establish they are worthy of consideration this early,” he said.
None of the three leads the Republican field at this point. In the Real Clear Politics average of Iowa GOP 2016 polls, Paul has averaged 9.6 percent support — behind Mike Huckabee, Jeb Bush and Paul Ryan. Santorum has averaged 4.7 percent support and Jindal doesn’t show up.
“It’s early,” Carroll said. “I don’t think the early polling is much of a factor.”
Iowans, he added, understand their role as first-in-the-nation caucus.
“It’s early, these visits are introductory, so people will listen politely,” Carroll said. “They will remain open-minded.”
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