Des Moines, Iowa — Paul Ryan, the 2012 Republican vice-presidential nominee, will headline a prominent Republican dinner in Iowa this fall, a visit that is sure to stoke talk of a potential presidential bid.
According to Iowa governor Terry Branstad, Ryan will deliver the keynote speech at the governor’s birthday party in November. Last year, Senator Marco Rubio of Florida spoke at the event.
Branstad, in an interview at his capitol office, says he’s excited to welcome back Ryan to the Hawkeye State. “He’s a key player in the House and I like him a lot,” he says. “I enjoyed campaigning with him last year. He’s a good guy.”
Branstad says his birthday bash will be held at Adventureland, a theme park in Altoona, Iowa. It’s famous for its fried food, water rides, and the Tornado, a large wooden roller coaster.
Ryan’s appearance will be his first in Iowa, the home of the first-in-the-nation caucuses, since the election. Until now, he has avoided making trips that would hint at a possible run.
A recent Public Policy Polling survey of Iowa Republicans shows Ryan remains popular in the state — among a crowded field of contenders, he finished third.
Ryan also has several ties to Iowa, which is only a two-hour drive from his home in Janesville, Wis. His wife Janna’s family hails from Clinton, Iowa, and Ryan’s grandfather went to college at Loras College, in the eastern part of the state.