Conservatives to flock to Ames


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Nearly 30 conservative activists from across the United States will converge on central Iowa this weekend, advocating for issues focusing on “family values” at the third-annual Family Leadership Summit.

In all, nearly 1,500 state conservatives are expected to stand alongside party leaders, some of whom have been eyed as potential 2016 presidential hopefuls, an organizer told *The Daily Iowan* on Wednesday.

A number of the confirmed GOP leaders —Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jindal, Texas Gov. Rick Perry, former Pennsylvania Sen. Rick Santorum, and Texas Sen. Ted Cruz — have trudged across the state’s presidential testing grounds over the past year to endorse state Republican candidates.

Others, such as Martin Luther King’s niece, Alveda King, and former HGTV hosts Jason and David Benham, will be new to many of the state’s residents.

“We’ve got one of the best lineups of speakers that’s available in Iowa,” said David Barnett, the communications director for the Family Leader, the social conservative political organization behind the summit. “There are a lot of different dynamics and different issues bound up in the conservative ideal, and there will be all sorts of different facets represented.”

For 2014, the Family Leader partnered with the Family Research Council Action and Citizens United to host the summit.

Many of the state’s Republicans, including Gov. Terry Branstad, Lt. Gov. Kim Reynolds, Rep. Steve King, Republican Senate candidate Joni Ernst, and Christian conservative leader Bob Vander Plaats, are set to take to Stephens Auditorium on the Iowa State University campus beginning at 10 a.m. Aug. 9

As of 6 p.m. Wednesday, 1,300 tickets had been purchased for the event, which will feature almost double the number of speakers as in 2013, Barnett said. Last year, 1,500 guests turned out, besting the 900-person inaugural summit that was held in Des Moines in 2012.

Last year, American business magnate and TV personality Donald Trump joined Cruz and Santorum in the 18-speaker lineup.

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