The Washington Times - July 19, 2013, 09:45AM

It’s the siren call of the Hawkeye State: One Texas Republican is in Iowa this very moment. That would be Sen. Ted Cruz, who has already arrived in Des Moines to host a sold-out summer picnic for the Republican Party of Iowa. But wait.

In addition, Mr. Cruz is a keynote speaker for “Pastors and Pews,” a two-day closed-press event for several hundred evangelical Christian pastors now underway in the city, sponsored by the American Renewal Project. Also on the speakers roster: Sen. Rand Paul of Kentucky, who has the polling edge, at least for now.

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“The goal is the mobilization of pastors and pews to restore America to our Judeo-Christian heritage and re-establish a Christian culture,” organizer and project founder David Lane recently told The Dallas Morning News.

“We’ve been in 15 states now, largely under the radar, and we’ve had 10,000 pastors plus spouses that we’ve put up overnight and fed three meals. The purpose is to get the pastors - the shepherds in America - to engage the culture through better registration and get out the vote,” Mr. Lane explained.

Meanwhile, the all-important numbers from a July 11 Public Policy Polling survey of Iowa voters: Mr. Paul is in the lead with 18 percent of the vote, followed by New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie (16 percent), Jeb Bush (14 percent), Sen. Marco Rubio (11 percent), Mr. Cruz (10 percent), Rick Santorum (6 percent), Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jindal (2 percent) and New Mexico Gov. Susana Martinez (1 percent).

Mr. Cruz, incidentally, will also answer the call of the Granite State soon. He heads to New Hampshire to address the Republican State Committee on Aug. 23.