Real estate developer Donald Trump, a potential 2012 Republican presidential candidate, will speak at a June 10 fundraising dinner in Iowa, traditionally the first step in the nomination process.
Trump, 64, will appear at the annual Lincoln Dinner in Des Moines, marking his first potential campaign trip to the state, Matt Strawn, the Republican state party chairman, said in a statement today.
“We are excited to have Mr. Trump share his vision for a better America through his experiences as an individual who has made a career as an entrepreneur and job creator,” Strawn said.
The Iowa caucuses are tentatively scheduled for Feb. 6, 2012.
Other Republicans considering a challenge to President Barack Obama’s re-election bid have already been traveling to Iowa and other early voting states such as New Hampshire, South Carolina and Nevada.
Former Minnesota Governor Tim Pawlenty, 50, announced March 21 that he is forming a committee to explore a bid, becoming the first major prospective candidate to do so. Former House Speaker Newt Gingrich, 67, said March 3 he was creating a website to explore a run.
Four years ago, when no incumbent was in the presidential contest, a total of 17 Republicans and Democrats had signaled their candidacies or set up exploratory committees by the end of January 2007, including Obama and then-Senator Hillary Clinton of New York, who now serves as secretary of state.
Obama, 49, has already started raising money and rallying supporters for Democratic races in 2012, including his own. The headquarters for his re-election bid will be based in Chicago, his adopted hometown.
Some of 2012’s other prospective Republican candidates include former Arkansas Governor Mike Huckabee, who won the Iowa caucuses in 2008, former Massachusetts Governor Mitt Romney, former Alaska Governor Sarah Palin, Governor Mitch Daniels of Indiana, and former Utah Governor Jon Huntsman, who is stepping down as ambassador to China in April.
Mississippi Governor Haley Barbour has also expressed interest in the race, as has former Senator Rick Santorum of Pennsylvania.
The lack of a clear Republican frontrunner has encouraged others, including Representative Michele Bachmann of Minnesota, a Tea Party favorite, to position themselves for potential runs.
Trump was viewed favorably by 37 percent and unfavorably by 43 percent of respondents in a Bloomberg National Poll taken March 4-7. Among Republicans, 39 percent held a favorable impression, while 48 percent of Tea Party supporters said they felt that way. The survey of 1,001 adults had a margin of error of plus or minus 3.1 percentage points on the full sample.
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