GOP Leaders Hope Iowa Shake-up Draws Candidates
DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) — Iowa’s Republican Gov. Terry Branstad has spent the past year leading an effort to seize control of his state party, hoping to send a message that the kickoff presidential caucuses will be welcoming to all 2016 GOP hopefuls.
But as conservative prospects flood the state for a major annual gathering of evangelical Christians this weekend, it’s not yet clear whether the party makeover will make Iowa more attractive to a mainstream GOP contender. Evangelicals, tea partiers and libertarians remain strong in Iowa.
The lineup for the conservative Family Leadership Summit in Ames features Texas Sen. Ted Cruz, Texas Gov. Rick Perry, Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jindal and former caucus winners Rick Santorum and Mike Huckabee.
Meanwhile, appearances in Iowa by the more pragmatic options have been sparse.