Five GOP Presidential Candidates Confirm for Reagan Dinner
The Republican Party of Iowa's annual Ronald Reagan Dinner on Friday brings presidential candidates and influential Iowa Republicans together. While most of the hopefuls will attend to woo caucus-goers, Mitt Romney and Herman Cain are avoiding Iowa.
Five GOP presidential hopefuls will speak to Iowa activists Friday night at the 2011 Reagan Dinner, but the two leaders in the hunt for caucus support will not be in town.
The Republican Party of Iowa's annual dinner at Hy-Vee Hall in downtown Des Moines will feature Rep. Michele Bachmann, former Speaker of the House Newt Gingrich, Rep. Ron Paul, former Sen. Rick Santorum and Texas Gov. Rick Perry.
Neither of the Des Moines Sunday Register's Iowa Poll frontrunners, Mitt Romney and Herman Cain, will attend the event.
Paul ranked third in the Register's poll published Oct. 30 with 12 percent. Bachmann, who won the Iowa Straw Poll in August, has seen her support dwindle to 8 percent in the Register poll, while Perry and Gingrich tied with 7 percent.
There was good news for Gingrich this week. A Patch survey of GOP Power Outsiders shows his support among local influential Republicans surging to third place, just 6 percentage points behind Romney, the leader.
Ryan Gough of the Iowa Republican Party said all presidential candidates were invited to the event, but Romney and Cain had not made plans to attend.
Each candidate will have 10 minutes to speak at the $75-a-head fundraiser, which will be attended by influential Iowa Republican office holders and activists.
Additional speakers include U.S. Sen. Chuck Grassley, Lt. Gov. Kim Reynolds and Iowa GOP Chairman Matt Strawn.
State Rep. Erik Helland of Johnston said he plans to attend the Reagan Dinner.
"I think it's a great opportunity to hear from five presidential candidates and it underscores what an opportunity we have here in Iowa to play such a big role in the presidential process," he said.
The night offers a good chance to get out and see candidates and hear from other prominent Iowa Republicans.
"I still don't have a favorite (candidate)," Helland said. "So I'm still kind of looking and look forward to seeing how they do then and help make a decision."
Those unable to attend the event in person can watch live on C-SPAN2, Gough said.
MSNBC is also scheduled to be at the event, but Gough said it was unclear if the cable network would be airing the event live.
Patch will have editors live blogging from the speeches, as well.
GOP Ronald Reagan Dinner Speaking Schedule
6 p.m: Doors open/general reception
7 p.m.: Welcome by Iowa GOP Co-Chairman Bill Schickel
7:15 p.m.: Lt. Gov. Kim Reynolds
7:20 p.m.: Sen. Chuck Grassley
7:26 p.m.: Iowa GOP Chairman Matt Strawn
7:30 p.m.: Rep. Ron Paul
7:41 p.m.: Rep. Michele Bachmann
7:52 p.m.: Former House Speaker Newt Gingrich
8:02 p.m.: Former Sen. Rick Santorum
8:13 p.m.: Gov. Rick Perry
Organizers announced Wednesday that VIP seating for the dinner was sold out, but limited general seating dinner tickets are still available for $75. For reservations call (515) 282-8105, email RSVP@iowagop.org or purchase online at www.iowagop.org.