Texas Republican Sen. Ted Cruz returned to Iowa Tuesday, signaling his continued interest in a possible presidential bid in 2016.
The Tea Party favorite’s latest visit marks his fourth trip in eight months to the state, which kicks off the presidential nominating contest with first-in-the-nation caucuses. Cruz will give the keynote address at an event for the Network of Iowa Christian Home Educators. He will then participate in a GOP fundraiser with state Rep. Steve King as he continues to lay the foundation for connections in the crucial early-voting state.
Last October, Cruz presented the keynote speech at Iowa’s Ronald Reagan dinner GOP fundraiser and went pheasant hunting with King.
Cruz, a self-appointed leader of the most radical faction of the GOP, has gained attention for his infamous one-liners. Additionally, he received much of the blame for the 16-day government shutdown last October after his 21-hour faux-filibuster of the Affordable Care Act.
The Republican emerged on top next to Kentucky Sen. Rand Paul after this month’s Conservative Political Action Conference. Both legislators have the potential to lead the GOP in the next presidential election, and are just two of several conservatives looking to become their party’s future nominee.
Former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton led potential 2016 GOP contenders, however, in a recent poll among Iowan voters. None of the candidates listed on the poll have announced their intent to campaign in the election, which will occur in more than two years. But Clinton hypothetically led Cruz 51% to 35%, Paul 49% to 39%, and former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush 51% to 37%.
Cruz plans to visit New Hampshire, where the country’s first presidential primary takes place, next month.