Jeb Bush heads to Iowa next month

Story highlights

  • Former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush will attend an agriculture summit in Iowa next month
  • It'll be his first scheduled appearance in the Hawkeye State
  • Iowa holds the first nominating contest in presidential election years

(CNN)Jeb Bush will make his first scheduled appearance this year to the critically important state of Iowa next month for the Iowa Agriculture Summit in Des Moines on March 7.

Bush's spokeswoman, Kristy Campbell, confirmed Wednesday that Bush will attend the event in the Hawkeye State, which holds the first nominating contests in presidential election years.
Former Texas Gov. Rick Perry, Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker, former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee, former Sen. Rick Santorum of Pennsylvania and real estate titan Donald Trump are also confirmed for the event.
    Other invited speakers include a range of potential Republican and Democratic presidential candidates, including Hillary Clinton and Joe Biden. Bush's scheduled speaking slot was first reported by the Des Moines Register.
    The former Florida governor makes his first major public address Wednesday since announcing in December he was actively exploring a presidential bid, though he hasn't officially announced a campaign. He's set to pitch a message at the Detroit Economic Club that he's a "reform conservative" and will offer an optimistic view for how to help the middle class.
    Bush skipped the most recent cattle call in Iowa last month, when close to 10 potential GOP presidential candidates addressed an assembly of core caucus goers in Des Moines.
    His absence seemed to be welcomed by many activists at the event. He was a frequent punching bag for some of the speakers — Donald Trump said to big applause: "The last thing we need is another Bush" — and the former governor's push for Common Core education standards was an even bigger target that day. New Hampshire State Rep. Bill O'Brien blasted the idea of "nominating a liberal supporter of Common Core because he has a familiar name."
    A recent Iowa poll also showed troubling signs for Bush. He garnered 8% support among likely Republican caucus goers, falling behind Scott Walker at 15%, Rand Paul at 14%, Mike Huckabee at 10% and Ben Carson at 9%.
    The Hawkeye State is already seeing a range of potential candidates making stops in the state. Sen. Rand Paul will be there on Friday and Saturday for an "Audit the Fed" rally and to attend an Iowa State University basketball game.
    New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie speaks at a Dallas County GOP event in Iowa on Monday.