Texas Governor Rick Perry is the first presidential candidate to accept the Iowa Republican Party’s invitation to speak at a fundraising banquet in Des Moines in early November.  Party chairman Matt Strawn expects other GOP candidates to RSVP a “yes” soon.

“We have heard from other candidates who are just working on their schedules because they understand it will be a very influential crowd of Republican activists,” Strawn said during an interview with Radio Iowa. “….I think it will be a great opportunity not just to boost the party’s organizational effort, but a great opportunity for the candidates to reach an audience of very influential Republicans just a few months before the Caucueses.” 

The Iowa GOP’s annual Reagan Dinner will be held in Des Moines on November 4. The event drew a huge crowd last year when former Alaska Governor Sarah Palin was the keynote speaker.

The Iowa Caucuses are tentatively scheduled for February 6, but decisions by officials in other states to move other primary dates ahead may prompt changes by officials in Iowa and the three other states which host the opening contests in the presidential selection process. Strawn today said he still hopes to avoid holding the Caucuses in the first week of January, which is what happened in 2008.  

 “We may have to move the date up a little bit, but the one thing that won’t change is the order,” Strawn said. “Iowa will still kick off the Caucus and Primary season.”

Officials Arizona have taken steps to move up that state’s primarty to February 28 and steps are being taken in Michigan and Florida to hold primaries that day, too. February 28th is the same date South Carolina — the fourth state in the presidential election calendar determined by the Republican National Committee — plans to hold its second-in-the-nation Primary and it’s likely South Carolina officials will be the first to start the date-moving process.