Mississippi Gov. Haley Barbour to speak at GOP event in Iowa
Mississippi Gov. Haley Barbour, who is considered likely to run for president in 2012, will be the featured speaker at a Republican Party of Iowa event in the Quad Cities on March 15.
The event is part of a statewide fundraising campaign organized by the Iowa GOP designed to support and prepare county organizations for the 2012 presidential cycle.
“The Iowa GOP is only as strong as our grassroots members and county party organizations,” said Republican Party of Iowa Chairman Matt Strawn. “Building a statewide organization to compete with an Obama re-election machine will require unprecedented coordination and hard work by Iowa Republicans. By taking the state GOP out of Des Moines and to every corner of Iowa, we will be prepared for that fight.”
Iowa GOP officials also indicated the state party has been in contact with numerous national Republican leaders and will have additional event announcements in the coming weeks.
Barbour was last in Iowa just before the November elections, when he stumped for Gov. Terry Branstad. Last week he told The Des Moines Register that he would campaign aggressively for the Iowa caucuses, should he decide to seek the Republican nomination for president.
At a Republican Party of Iowa fundraiser in 2009, Barbour stirred controversy when he told a crowd of party activists and elected officials that the only way back into the majority is to resist demands for ideological purity. He specifically pointed to the abortion issue, saying “There are tens of millions of pro-choice Republicans that are just as good Republicans as I am, and we need to support them.”
Barbour also ran into trouble with Steve Scheffler, president of Iowa Faith & Freedom Coalition and one of two Iowans on the Republican National Committee. Scheffler wasn’t happy with how Barbour was running the Republican Governors Association, telling Hotline OnCall’s Reid Wilson that “[Barbour]’s toast in Iowa, as far as I’m concerned. I traditionally stay out of presidential contested races, but this kind of information will be distributed far and wide.”