The year 2016 might seem pretty far off, but as politicians head home for August recess, a slew of possible presidential hopefuls are making a mad dash for everyone's favorite vacation destination: Iowa.
Paul Not First Ensnared in Mideast Policy in Iowa
Do They Really 'Love' Chris Christie In Iowa?
5 Ways Democrats May Boost Turnout at 2016 Iowa Caucuses
Here are seven signs that the presidential race has already begun:
1. Destination Iowa
Normally, Iowa is only afforded the standard one governor and two senators, but for a window of time in August, Sen. Ted Cruz, Sen. Marco Rubio, Sen. Rand Paul, Rick Santorum, Gov. Rick Perry, Mike Huckabee and Gov. Bobby Jindal are all making a pilgrimage to the Hawkeye State. Though none of these prominent politicians has formally announced plans to run in 2016, touring around Iowa can never hurt one's chances.
2. Tractor Rides With a Candidate
Though you might expect to find Rubio, R-Fla., relaxing in Miami and mingling with constituents at the start of his five-week vacation (and, yes, he has been doing that too), he actually kicked it off in the Midwest. Rubio showed up on twitter Monday riding a tractor with none other than Republican Iowa Senate candidate Jodi Ernst.
Sen. @MarcoRubio getting a taste of Iowa on a tractor this past weekend! #IASEN pic.twitter.com/vNWldOXsyV
- Joni Ernst (@joniernst) August 4, 2014
Ernst attracted national attention earlier this year after calling President Obama a dictator and floating the idea of his impeachment.
Ernst also released a fairly controversial ad asserting that her experience castrating hogs gives her the know-how to cut pork in Washington.
Cruz, R-Texas, recently told the Des Moines Register, "I think Jodi is one of the most exciting Senate candidates in the whole country, and I'm eager to do anything I can to help her get elected."
3. Hoe-Down With a Big Donor
Cruz and Rubio both made the trek up to Iowa last weekend to attend the annual summer party of Iowa agribusiness leader Bruce Rastetter. The two presumptive presidential hopefuls also spent time fundraising for Enrst while in the Hawkeye State.
Cruz said the timing of his visits to Iowa have been " separate and incidental," in relation to the recent immigration crisis at the border and last year's government shutdown.
4. Rand Paul Runs Away
Paul of Kentucky was campaigning with Republican Rep. Steve King in Iowa, and enjoying a summer barbeque, when two "DREAMers" confronted King about statements he made about undocumented children. Within 15 seconds of their arrival, Paul promptly abandoned his burger and fled the scene.
Paul apparently had to leave for a media engagement, which he must have been very eager to get to because he was still chewing on his food as he abruptly left the table.
Nothing says "I'm running for president" like dodging tough questions.
5. Rand Paul Attacks
7 Unmistakable Signs the 2016 Presidential Race Has Begun