By STEVE PEOPLES, Associated Press
BOSTON (AP) — Republican Sen. Rand Paul is set to appear in New Hampshire next month, becoming the first potential 2016 presidential candidate to deliver a formal speech in the state likely to host the nation's first presidential primary.
The New Hampshire Republican Party confirmed Wednesday that the first-term senator from Kentucky will deliver the keynote address at its first Liberty Dinner on May 20. The location has yet to be determined.
"Sen. Rand Paul has been a leader in the fight for smaller government, lower taxes and fiscal responsibility in Washington," said state GOP Chairman Jennifer Horn. "I am honored that Sen. Paul has agreed to address our party and I look forward to welcoming him to the Granite State."
Republican National Committee Chairman Reince Priebus is also scheduled to attend the New Hampshire event.
Paul, the son of former Rep. Ron Paul of Texas, himself a veteran of presidential campaigns, has said he's "seriously considering" running for the White House. A favorite of the tea party movement, the senator delivered a tea party response to President Barack Obama's State of the Union Address earlier in the year and scored a narrow victory in a symbolic presidential preference poll of conservative activists last month.
New Hampshire law requires the state to host the nation's first presidential primary election, while Iowa hosts the first caucus. But the voting calendar also depends upon party rules and state legislatures. The final schedule won't be set for years.
Other Republicans thought to be weighing presidential bids have already visited Iowa, including Florida Sen. Marco Rubio and Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker.
Iowa also figures into several upcoming appearances by potential 2016 candidates. A 2012 presidential candidate, former Sen. Rick Santorum of Pennsylvania, is scheduled to address Iowa faith-based groups on April 15. Paul is set to deliver an Iowa GOP Lincoln Day dinner speech on May 10, and Walker is scheduled to speak in Des Moines on May 23.
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