- The Washington Times - Thursday, July 17, 2014

With the Bridgegate scandal in his rear view mirror, New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie has been re-establishing his public presence through select appearances and events. And he’s stepping into presidential formation, which will soon get very crowded.

The Garden State governor arrived in Iowa on Thursday for a trio of bodacious fundraisers in towns like Cedar Rapids and Davenport. Events for the Republican Governors Association and state lawmakers commanded ticket prices as high as $25,000.

The third event for Gov. Terry Branstad featured much good cheer and old-timey style at the at Iowa State Fair, billed as “An Evening with Chris Christie“, complete with such heartland dainties as whiskey-marinated pork loin, sweet corn studded with bacon bits and, of course, cheese curds.

But ‘tis the season.

Once the aforementioned New Jersey governor leaves Iowa, a Texas governor will be on his very heels. That would be Gov. Rick Perry, who takes his fourth visit to Iowa in less than two years. Mr. Perry will host events next week for the North Iowa Conservative dinner at a high school in Algona, followed by lunch with veterans, law enforcement members and ambulance personnel in Clear Lakeand a barbecue fundraiser for the Cerro Gordo GOP.

Oh, but the parade of potential presidential hopefuls is only just beginning. Sen. Rand Paul arrives in Ames the first week of August, followed by visits to the good folks of Clear Lake and Urbandale. And on Aug. 9, a gaggle of GOP power players arrive for the Family Leadership Summit a. On the roster of confirmed speakers: Mr. Perry, Sen. Ted Cruz of Texas and Tim Scott of South Carolina, Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jindal, Mike Huckabee, Rick Santorum and Ken Cucinelli.

“One of the hopeful outcomes of the Summit is to bring conservatives together early and consistently in the process leading up to the 2016 elections,” says organizer Bob Vander Plaats, president & CEO of the Family Leader, a Colorado-based family-centric ministry.