Perry Returning to Iowa, Showing Serious '16 Interest

Perry Returning to Iowa, Showing Serious '16 Interest
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In the latest sign that Rick Perry is thinking seriously about a second presidential run, the Texas governor is heading to Iowa later this month for campaign stops on behalf of Republican Gov. Terry Branstad.  

Perry will visit the nation’s first caucus state on May 29 for a full slate of events, according to a schedule provided to RealClearPolitics.  

After attending a breakfast in Ames, he plans to spend the afternoon in northwest Iowa, an area that brims with the conservative caucus-goers who would be key to his hopes of improving on his fifth-place showing in the 2012 caucuses. 

Perry’s upcoming sojourn will mark his third trip to the Hawkeye State since November as he continues to assess his prospects, which would rely heavily on generating momentum from a strong showing in Iowa.  

He has in recent years built a close relationship with Branstad, who is widely expected to win re-election in November. In December, Perry hosted his Iowa counterpart at a Houston fundraiser -- an event described by a Perry confidant as the most successful fundraiser held by a fellow Republican for the Branstad campaign.  

And Perry has invited Branstad to Dallas in October for another opportunity to tap into Texas’ rich GOP donor base. 

Last week, Perry became the first potential 2016 Republican contender to wade into Iowa’s wide-open GOP Senate primary when he endorsed former U.S. attorney Matt Whitaker ahead of the June 3 primary.  Perry’s upcoming visit will include an event on behalf of Whitaker, who was a state co-chair for the three-term governor’s 2012 White House run.   

Perry will also hold a press conference and visit the Blue Bunny Ice Cream Parlor in Le Mars -- an Iowa institution that is a frequent stop on the presidential campaign trail. 

Scott Conroy is a national political reporter for RealClearPolitics. He can be reached at sconroy@realclearpolitics.com. Follow him on Twitter @RealClearScott.

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