The Ottumwa Courier

AP Iowa

August 19, 2013

Summer burst in Iowa belies quiet on 2016 front

DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) — Potential presidential candidates' recent burst of summertime Iowa visits belies this reality: No one has started to do the serious spadework of preparing for a 2016 White House run in this important state.

Sure, it's more than two years until Iowa is to begin the presidential selection process. But this is a state where presidential campaigning — including, early on, wooing state legislators, recruiting volunteers and identifying potential staff — is a near-constant undercurrent. And yet the biggest names in the 2016 speculation game are all but absent in Iowa, so well-known that they have the luxury of staying away and doing little to nothing at this early stage.

None is bigger than that of Democrat Hillary Rodham Clinton, and she appears to be in no hurry.

"I have not heard from Secretary Clinton," said Bonnie Campbell, Iowa chairwoman of Clinton's 2008 presidential campaign. "I hope I do."

Iowa has, however, heard from other possible candidates, most notably lesser-known Republicans looking to position themselves from the outset in what's expected to be a crowded field.

Freshman Texas Sen. Ted Cruz lit up conservative audiences on two recent visits. And Kentucky Sen. Rand Paul has stopped in Iowa three times this summer.

But Republicans with arguably larger profiles, including former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush, New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie, Florida Sen. Marco Rubio and Wisconsin Rep. Paul Ryan have all stayed away so far. Bush is the scion of a presidential family. Christie, Rubio and Ryan have emerged as national figures. Ryan also was the 2012 Republican vice presidential nominee.

Turmoil over how Republicans should move forward after last year's election losses has also kept some from stepping out too soon, former Iowa GOP director Chuck Laudner said.

"Republicans are all over the map because (President Barack) Obama won, and we can't figure out why," said Laudner.

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