Ted Cruz to visit the Iowa GOP summer picnic

republican

(CNN) — That trip to South Carolina must have gone well.

Sen. Ted Cruz, who spoke to Palmetto State Republicans in early May, has another trip to an early voting state slated for July when he’ll headline the Iowa GOP’s annual summer picnic.

It’s more fuel for speculation that Cruz, an outspoken Senate freshman who’s already known for challenging establishment members of his own party, is considering a bid for the 2016 GOP presidential nomination.

“Senator Ted Cruz embodies bold leadership and Iowa Republicans appreciate leaders who stand up for them and fight big government recklessness,” said A.J. Spiker, the chairman of the Iowa GOP. “Ted Cruz is, without a doubt, a leader Iowans will want to meet. As the ‘First in the Nation’ state, we look forward to introducing Senator Cruz to Iowa Republicans.”

Other potential candidates to travel to Iowa in recent months include Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker, who spoke in May to the Polk County Republicans, and Sen. Rand Paul of Kentucky, who addressed the Iowa GOP’s Lincoln Day Dinner. Rick Santorum, the former Republican senator and 2012 GOP presidential candidate, was slated to visit the Hawkeye State in April but canceled due to illness.

Santorum said he’d visit the state instead for the Iowa State Fair, held in August.

Candidates have also paid visits to New Hampshire and South Carolina, the two other states that hold early primary votes in the presidential nominating calendar.

Cruz’s eligibility to run for president has been subject to debate. He was born in Canada to a Cuban father, but his mother was an American citizen.