DES MOINES, Iowa — Texas tea party darling U.S. Sen. Ted Cruz is making his fourth trip to Iowa in eight months, logging serious face-time before most other potential 2016 White House hopefuls in the state that kicks off presidential voting.
Cruz was the keynote speaker at a Network of Iowa Christian Home Educators’ event Tuesday in Des Moines before appearing in Mason City for a GOP fundraiser with Iowa’s U.S. Rep. Steve King, with whom Cruz went pheasant hunting.
That’s more Iowa trips than any of the other Republicans mentioned as possible presidential contenders, except for fellow tea party-backed U.S. Sen. Rand Paul of Kentucky.
On this trip, Cruz was courting home school advocates, who are often deeply religious and politically active. Their support helped the last two Republicans win Iowa’s presidential caucus: former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee in 2008, and former U.S. Sen. Rick Santorum of Pennsylvania in 2012.
Cruz, however, will likely need support from other conservative blocs if he is going to succeed in Iowa, where some traditional Republicans haven’t been thrilled with his firebrand ways. For instance, Cruz has no plans to meet this time with Gov. Terry Branstad, a Republican mainstream champion, even though they have appeared together in the past.