The Iowa State Fair is the next big campaign stop for many of the declared presidential contenders. According to reports from FoxNews.com, 19 presidential hopefuls from both parties will be attending the event. Presidential candidates looking to test their message have stopped at the Iowa State Fair ever since the fair’s inception in 1854. The fair, held in Des Moines, begins on Thursday.
Candidates have found the fair to be a good forum to lay out their priorities and goals for the future. Over the years, the popularity of the event has steadily increased, increasing its political prominence as well. Since 2002, attendance at the fair has passed the million mark 11 times. Contenders that do not have a good showing in this crucial first-in-the-nation caucus state, often drop out of the race, their hopes for the White House dashed.
The GOP presidential contenders attending the event include former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush, neurosurgeon Ben Carson, New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie, Texas Sen. Ted Cruz, former HP CEO Carly Fiorina South Carolina Sen. Lindsey Graham, former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee, Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jindal, Ohio Gov. John Kasich, former Texas Gov. Rick Perry, Florida Sen. Marco Rubio, former Sen. Rick Santorum, Donald Trump and Wisconsin Gov.Scott Walker.
Democrat contenders scheduled to attend include former Rhode Island Gov. Lincoln Chafee, former Maryland Gov. Martin O’Malley, Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders, former Virginia Sen. Jim Webb, and Democratic National Committee Chairwoman Debbie Wasserman Schultz. Former secretary of state Hillary Clinton is not scheduled to appear.
Dianne Bystrom, director of the Carrie Chapman Catt Center for Women and Politics, told FoxNews.com that candidates who remain positive and avoid controversy woiuld make the most impact with voters at the event. She said, “It’s a family-friendly environment. Set an optimistic tone.” She continued, “Talk about your accomplishments. What have they done and what will they do for Iowa?”