Former Florida Governor Jeb Bush will make his first campaign-style appearance in Iowa one month from today. He is among the likely Republican presidential candidates who have agreed to appear at the first-ever “Iowa Ag Summit” on March 7.
Bruce Rastetter, a mega-donor to Republican candidates like Terry Branstad and a major contributor to the “American Future Fund” Super PAC is the event’s host. Nick Ryan runs the American Future Fund and he’s also helping to organize Rastetter’s summit.
“The unique thing about Iowa is that every four years, our state becomes the epicenter of American politics and we often have the role of shaping and reflecting national policy movements,” Ryan says. “Being an ag state, unfortunately up until this point, there’s not been an event, a forum, that’s solely focused and dedicated to matters that directly affect Iowa farmers.”
Ryan says each candidate will get 20 minutes on stage with Rastetter to answer his questions and some from the audience as well.
“And provide an opportunity for those folks that might be running for president an opportunity to come this state and share their views on modern agriculture,” Ryan says.
Rastetter, the event’s host, is among seven Iowa Republicans who flew to New Jersey in 2011 to encourage Chris Christie to run for president, but Christie is not among the list of possible 2016 candidates who’ve accepted an invitation to Rastetter’s Ag Summit. Bush and seven other Republicans who have indicated they’re considering a run for the presidency this time around have agreed to participate. The list includes former Arkansas Governor Mike Huckabee, the winner of Iowa’s 2008 Caucuses, and former Pennsylvania Senator Rick Santorum, the winner of Iowa’s 2012 Caucuses. Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker and Senators Marco Rubio of Florida and Ted Cruz of Texas have RSVP’d for the event, too. Former Texas Governor Rick Perry and businessman Donald Trump plan to be there as well.
The event will be held at the Elwell Family Food Center at the Iowa State Fairgrounds in Des Moines.
(Reporting by Pat Powers, KQWC, Webster City; additional reporting and editing by Radio Iowa’s Matt Kelley & O. Kay Henderson)