As of today, there are 1253 until Election Day 2012 and a potential Republican presidential candidate is making a campaign-style trip to northwest Iowa. 

Nevada Senator John Ensign will speak this evening in Sioux City in a conservative lecture series sponsored by the American Future Fund. 

“He is a relative unknown in Iowa,” says American Future Fund spokesman Tim Albrecht. “This is what potential presidential candidates will do every four years is start coming here, dip their toes in the water and see if their message is one that will resonate with the First-In-The-Nation Cauucs state.”

Albrecht describes the 51-year-old Ensign as a “strong” conservative.

“I think that Senator Ensign will be able to introduce himself to a group of active conservatives who are thirsty for a new voice, a new person, to really pick up the banner and carry it on their behalf,” Albrecht says.

Ensign, who was a veterinarian before he entered politics, will tour Trans Ova Genetics in Sioux Center early this afternoon. Ensign will make a public stop at the Wells Blue Bunny Ice Cream Parlor in Le Mars at 3 p.m., then make his way to Sioux City for tonight’s speech.

Ensign is part of the Republican leadership team in the senate, where he’s been a member since 2001. He was a congressman for four years before running for the senate.

Ensign’s not the only potential presidential candidate to visit Iowa this month. Former Arkansas Governor Mike Huckabee, winner of the 2008 Iowa Caucuses, will speak at the Iowa Association of Business and Industry’s annual meeting in Okoboji on June 10, then Huckabee will headline a fundraiser in Spirit Lake for likely Republican gubernatorial candidate Bob Vander Plaats.