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The Gazette KCRG
Posted April 18, 2011
Tracking the candidates: GOP hopefuls’ visits to Iowa

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Although a platoon of potential presidential nominees are testing the waters in Iowa and other early caucus and primary states, the White House’s current occupant, Democrat Barack Obama, is the only candidate who has taken the plunge into the 2012 presidential race.

Iowa’s first-in-the-nation caucuses are scheduled Feb. 6. That’s when Iowans will gather to identify their preferences for presidential candidates. Winning the Iowa caucuses can launch a candidate on his or her way to the nomination and presidency — as in Obama’s case. Or not — as in Mike Huckabee’s short-lived reign as GOP front-runner after the 2008 caucuses.

The 2012 caucus campaign has not developed with the same speed and energy as in 2008 when both Democrats and Republicans were seeking nominees. However, Republicans’ strong showing in the November midterm election — capturing the Governor’s Office, the Iowa House and picking up seats in the Senate — seems to signal Iowa will be a caucus battleground for GOP presidential hopefuls.

So far, the potential candidates have made nearly 100 visits to Iowa in this election cycle, more if lesser known candidates are included.

The activity is likely to increase this summer. A number of potential candidates have said they will decide this month and next in anticipation of debates and other significant events.

In Iowa, the activity is likely to hit a fever pitch in mid-August when the Republican Party of Iowa and Fox News hold a debate Aug. 11, two days ahead of the Iowa Straw Poll.

Another debate is planned with ABC News the weekend of Dec. 10, and the Iowa GOP and Fox will team up again for a debate the weekend of Feb. 4, just ahead of the caucuses.

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MICHELE BACHMANN

Michele Bachmann

  • Visits to Iowa (this election cycle): 5
  • Current: U.S. House, since 2007; founder, House Tea Party Caucus
  • Career history: Minnesota state senator, 2003-07; IRS attorney, 1988-93
  • Birthday: April 6, 1956
  • Hometown: Waterloo
  • Alma mater: Bachelor’s degree, Winona State University; law degree, Oral Roberts; master’s of law, College of William and Mary
  • Spouse: Marcus
  • Religion: Wisconsin Evangelical Lutheran Synod
  • Website: www.michelebachmann.com

HALEY BARBOUR

Haley Barbour

  • Visits to Iowa: 5
  • Current: Mississippi governor
  • Career history: Chairman of the Republican Governor’s Association, 2009-10; vice chair, RGA, 2008-09; chairman, Republican National Committee, 1993-97; CEO, Barbour, Griffith, & Rogers, 1991-2003; White House political director, 1985-87
  • Birthday: Oct. 22, 1947
  • Hometown: Yazoo City, Miss.
  • Alma mater: Law degree, University of Mississippi, 1973; attended University of Mississippi as undergraduate
  • Spouse: Marsha
  • Religion: Presbyterian
  • Website: www.haleyspac.com

JEB BUSH

Jeb Bush

  • Visits to Iowa: zero
  • Current: chairman, Foundation for Florida’s Future and the Foundation for Excellence in Education
  • Career history: Florida governor, 1999-2007; Florida secretary of commerce, 1987-88
  • Birthday: Feb. 11, 1953
  • Hometown: Midland, Texas
  • Alma mater: Bachelor’s degree, University of Texas, 1973
  • Spouse: Columba
  • Religion: Catholic
  • Website: None

MITCH DANIELS

Mitch Daniels

  • Visits to Iowa: zero
  • Current: Indiana governor since 2005
  • Career history: Director, federal Office of Management and Budget, 2001-03; senior vice president, Eli Lilly and Co. 1990-2001; CEO, the Hudson Institute, 1987-90
  • Birthday: April 7, 1949
  • Hometown: Monongahela, Pa.
  • Alma mater: Bachelor’s degree, Princeton University, 1971; law degree, Georgetown University, 1979.
  • Spouse: Cheri
  • Religion: Presbyterian
  • Website: www.aiminghigherpac.com

NEWT GINGRICH

Newt Gingrich

  • Visits to Iowa: 10
  • Current: Founder of Newt.org, American Solutions and the Center for Health Transformation, author, Fox News political analyst
  • Career history: Speaker of the U.S. House, 1995-98; Georgia congressman, 1978-1998; co-author “The Contract with America,” 1994; professor, University of West Georgia
  • Birthday: June 17, 1943
  • Hometown: Harrisburg, Pa.
  • Alma Mater: Bachelor’s degree, Emory University, 1965; master’s degree, Tulane University, New Orleans, 1968; doctoral degree, Tulane University, 1971.
  • Spouse: Callista
  • Religion: Southern Baptist
  • Website: www.newt.org

MIKE HUCKABEE

Mike Huckabee

  • Visits to Iowa: 7
  • Current: Host of “Huckabee” on Fox News; head of HuckPac
  • Career history: Arkansas governor, 1996-2007; lieutenant governor, 1993-96; chairman of the National Governors Association, 2005-06; president, Cambridge Communications, 1992-96; KBSC-TV, 1987-92; president, ACTS-TV, 1983-86; Baptist minister, 1980-92; director of communications, Focus, 1976-80
  • Birthday: Aug. 24, 1955
  • Hometown: Hope, Ark.
  • Alma mater: Bachelor’s degree, Ouachita Baptist University, 1975
  • Spouse: Janet
  • Religion: Baptist
  • Website: www.mikehuckabee.com

JON HUNTSMAN

Jon Huntsman

  • Visits to Iowa: zero
  • Current: Outgoing U.S. ambassador to China, 2009-April 2011
  • Career history: Utah governor, 2005-09; chairman and CEO, Huntsman Family Holdings Co., 2003-04; U.S. trade ambassador, 2001-03; president, Huntsman Cancer Foundation, 1995-2001
  • Birthday: March 26, 1960
  • Hometown: Palo Alto, Calif.
  • Alma mater: Bachelor’s degree, University of Pennsylvania, 1987
  • Spouse: Kaye
  • Religion: Mormon
  • Website: www.horizon-pac.com

BOBBY JINDAL

Bobby Jindal

  • Visits to Iowa: 2
  • Current: Louisiana governor, since 2007
  • Career history: U.S. Congress, 2005-07; secretary, Louisiana Department of Health and Hospitals, 1996-98; executive director, National Bipartisan Commission on the Future of Medicare, 1998-99; president, University of Louisiana System, 1999-2001; assistant secretary, U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, 2001-03
  • Birthday: June 10, 1971
  • Hometown: Baton Rouge, La.
  • Alma mater: Bachelor’s degree, Brown University, 1991; master of letters, Oxford University, 1994
  • Spouse: Supriya
  • Religion: Catholic
  • Website: www.bobbyjindal.com

GARY JOHNSON

Gary Johnson

  • Visits to Iowa: 3
  • Current: Founder, Our America Initiative; board member, Students for Sensible Drug Policy; Students for Liberty
  • Career history: New Mexico governor, 1995-2003; founder, Big J Enterprises, 1976-99
  • Birthday: Jan. 1, 1953
  • Hometown: Minot, N.D.
  • Alma mater: Bachelor’s degree, University of New Mexico
  • Spouse: None
  • Religion: NA
  • Website: http://ouramericainitiative.com/

FRED KARGER

Fred Karger

  • Visits to Iowa: 6
  • Current: Retired since 2004
  • Career history: Actor, 1973-76; political consultant, 1976-2003
  • Birthday: Jan. 31, 1950
  • Hometown: Laguna Beach, Calif.
  • Alma mater: Bachelor’s degree, University of Denver
  • Spouse: None
  • Religion: Jewish
  • Website: www.fredkarger.com

SARAH PALIN

Sarah Palin

  • Visits to Iowa: 4
  • Current: Fox News contributor
  • Career history: Reality show star, 2010; Alaska governor, 2007-09; GOP vice presidential nominee, 2008; Wasilla, Alaska, mayor, 1996-2002; chairwoman Alaska Oil & Gas Conservation Commission, 2003-04; Wasilla City Council member, 1992-1996; television sports reporter, 1987-89; co-owner commercial fishing operation, 1988-2007; owner, snow machine, watercraft, and all-terrain vehicle business, 1994-97.
  • Birthday: Feb. 11, 1964
  • Hometown: Wasilla, Alaska
  • Alma mater: Bachelor’s degree, University of Idaho, 1987
  • Spouse: Todd
  • Religion: Christian
  • Website: www.sarahpac.com

RON PAUL

Ron Paul

  • Visits to Iowa: 7
  • Current: U.S. representative, since 1997
  • Career history: Libertarian Party presidential nominee, 1987-88; obstetrician/gynecologist, 1968-96
  • Birthday: Aug. 20, 1935
  • Hometown: Green Tree, Pa.
  • Alma mater: Bachelor’s degree, Gettysburg College, 1957; medical degree, Duke University, 1961
  • Spouse: Carol
  • Religion: Protestant
  • Website: www.ronpaul.org

TIM PAWLENTY

Tim Pawlenty

  • Visits to Iowa: 12
  • Current: Founder of Freedom First PAC
  • Career history: Minnesota governor, 2003-11; vice chairman, Republican Governor’s Association, 2009-11; vice president of corporate development, Wizmo Inc., 2000-01; majority leader, 1999-02; Minnesota House of Representatives, 1992-2002; Eagan, Minn., City Council, 1990-92; Eagan Planning Commission, 1988-89; lawyer, Rider, Bennett, Egan and Arundel, 1986-2000;
  • Birthday: Nov. 27, 1960
  • Hometown: Eagan, Minn.
  • Alma mater: University of Minnesota, bachelor’s degree, 1983; law degree, 1986
  • Spouse: Mary
  • Religion: Protestant
  • Website: www.timpawlenty.com

CHARLES “BUDDY” ROEMER

Charles "Buddy" Roemer"

  • Visits to Iowa: 1
  • Current: president, CEO, Business First Bank
  • Career history: Louisiana governor, 1988-92; U.S. Congress, 1981-88; delegate to the Louisiana Constitutional Convention, 1972; founder, the Sterling Group, 1991-97
  • Birthday: Oct. 4, 1943
  • Hometown: Shreveport, La.
  • Alma mater: Bachelor’s degree, Harvard College; master’s degree, Harvard Business School
  • Spouse: Scarlett
  • Religion: Methodist
  • Website: www.buddyroemer.com

MITT ROMNEY

Mitt Romney

  • Visits to Iowa: 2
  • Current: Chairman of Free & Strong America PAC
  • Career history: Massachusetts governor, 2002-07; chairman of the Republican Governors Association, 2006; vice president of Bain & Co., 1978-84 and 1990-92; founder Bain Capital, 1984-90; CEO, Salt Lake Organizing Committee 2002 Winter Olympics, 1992-2002
  • Birthday: March 12, 1947
  • Hometown: Bloomfield Hills, Mich.
  • Alma mater: Bachelor’s degree, Brigham Young University, 1971; master’s degree, Harvard Business School, 1975; law degree, Harvard Law School, cum laude
  • Spouse: Ann
  • Religion: Mormon
  • Website: freestrongamerica.com/

MARCO RUBIO

Marco Rubio

  • Visits to Iowa: zero
  • Current: U.S. senator
  • Career history: Florida state representative, including speaker, majority whip and majority leader, 2000-08; former Florida GOPAC chairman
  • Birthday: May 28, 1971
  • Hometown: Miami
  • Alma mater: Bachelor’s degree, University of Florida, 1993; law degree, University of Miami, 1996.
  • Spouse: Jeanette
  • Religion: Catholic
  • Website: www.marcorubio.com

RICK SANTORUM

Rick Santorum

  • Visits to Iowa: 11
  • Current: Senior fellow, Ethics and Public Policy Center; Fox News contributor, consultant, Eckert Seamans Cherin & Mellott LLC; Philadelphia Inquirer columnist
  • Career history: U.S. senator, 1995-2007; U.S. representative, 1991-95; attorney, Kirkpatrick and Lockhart, 1986-90; administrative assistant, Pennsylvania state Sen. Doyle Corman, 1981-86
  • Birthday: May 10, 1958
  • Hometown: Penn Hills, Pa.
  • Alma mater: Bachelor’s degree, Penn State, 1980; master’s degree, University of Pittsburgh, 1981; law degree, Dickinson Law School, 1986
  • Spouse: Karen
  • Religion: Catholic
  • Website: www.ricksantorum.com

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