But Paul’s ability to snag the Iowa GOP’s marquee invitation indicates the leg up he enjoys over prospective opponents. The recently re-elected chairman of the state party, A.J. Spiker, and co-chairman David Fischer were key figures in Ron Paul’s 2012 Iowa campaign and are ideologically aligned with his libertarian-leaning son.

In an interview with RCP on Tuesday, Spiker deflected questions about whether the Iowa Republican Party — which has long taken a neutral stance in contested caucuses — is showing its cards with the invitation to Paul.

“We had quite a bit of excitement, as we saw nationwide, with the 13-hour filibuster,” Spiker said. “And once we saw how excited everyone was about that, we decided to extend an invitation to Sen. Paul’s office, and he accepted, and we’re thrilled to have him coming.”…

“I wonder whom outside of Ron or Rand Paul they actually know to invite to a dinner,” Republican operative David Kochel, who ran Mitt Romney’s 2012 Iowa campaign, said of the leadership. “Sen. Paul is a good get, and he’s hot right now. I’m just wondering what they do for the fall event. Maybe invite Ron back again? And what about next spring and the spring after that? How many Pauls can speak?”