If the Ron Paul 2012 presidential race is dead -- and if it's not, it's in a deep, deep coma -- you wouldn't know it from what's going on in Iowa, where his unlikely bid for the White House began.
While former Sen. Rick Santorum ultimately won the Iowa Caucus back in January, Iowa delegates to the GOP convention this summer are mostly Paul supporters, thanks partly to a system that allows delegates to do as they wish and thanks partly to the number of Paul supporters who have risen in Iowa's political leadership positions.
And on Friday, Iowa Republicans will gather to hear Kentucky Sen. Rand Paul, the son of the presidential candidate and a leader in the Tea Party movement.
Rand Paul is making the rounds and spreading the word that he — like his father — wants to change government.
Rand Paul will be the keynote speaker at the Iowa Faith & Freedom Coalition's 12th annual Spring Kick-off event at in Waukee. He'll be joined by other such notable politicians as Sen. Chuck Grassley, Rep. Tom Latham and Rep. Steve King.
The Iowa Faith & Freedom Coalition is one of the largest and most influential conservative groups in Iowa politics. The Coalition's Spring Kick-off raises money and awareness for election activities and campaign involvement across Iowa.
Steve Scheffler, president of the Iowa Faith & Freedom Coalition, says the event could draw more than 600 political activists to Waukee on Friday.
"I would guess we'll have a pretty steady stream of people coming in," he said. "We have Senator Paul, Senator Grassley, Latham - they will be quite a draw this year for us."
Scheffler says the Kentucky senator is not in Iowa to promote Ron Paul for president.
"I am not endorsing anyone," Scheffler said. "This is not a Ron Paul event. That’s not the purpose of this at all. It just happens to be his son."
Ron Paul 2012
All that aside, it's starting to look like Iowa might very well be in support of Ron Paul for president. An article in The Des Moines Register suggested that a majority of Iowans selected for the GOP national convention were in favor of former Texas congressman to win the nomination.
Six of the new Iowa GOP state central committee members elected last month have publicly expressed support for the libertarian-leaning Ron Paul, while two more new state central committee members have had close relationships with the Paul movement.
The growing Paul faction in leadership positions at the Republican Party of Iowa — including the new chairman, A.J. Spiker, who was the Paul campaign’s Iowa vice chairman — has created tension with Iowa Republicans who don’t share their affection for the Texas congressman or share some of his views, the Register reports.
In Iowa, Paul claimed second place in the August Ames Straw Poll behind Minnesota Congresswoman Michele Bachmann and third place in the Iowa Republican Caucus behind Mitt Romney and Rick Santorum.
Still, Rand Paul's appearances here couldn't hurt his father's all-but-dead chance at the White House. With similar views on reforming government, Rand Paul is bound to perk up the ears of just about anyone in Iowa who is still listening to the Ron Paul battle cry.
Jeff Mullen, lead pastor at Point of Grace Church and a Republican candidate for a seat in the Iowa Senate district 22, says the event is really an opportunity for people to gather and hear the what Iowa's politicians have to say.
"It’s always a privilege when we get to have our nation's leadership in our building," he said. "Senator Grassley, Congressman King and Senators Latham and Paul will be with us. It's good for us to hear from them."
The Spring Kick-off is a fund-raising event. The suggested contribution to attend is $20 per person or $30 per couple. All proceeds go to the Iowa Faith & Freedom Coalition.
Sen. Rand Paul will also be in Des Moines Friday as part of a “Refueling America Rally,” which starts at 2 p.m. at the Ramada Conference Center in Des Moines.
IFFC 2012 Spring Kickoff Event
Where: Point of Grace Church, 305 N.E. Dartmoor Dr., Waukee
When: Friday, May 11, 2012
Time: 5:30 - Reception, 6:30 - Program