POLITICO has learned Santorum will visit first-in-the-nation Iowa this fall for a series of appearances before the sort of conservative activists who dominate the state GOP’s key presidential caucuses…

“I’m very concerned about the state of affairs in this country and how Republicans are dealing with [issues], so this is an opportunity for me to go out and talk about things I think we need to be doing to turn this country in the right direction,” Santorum said of the Iowa trek—a visit invariably seen as presidential water-testing for any ambitious politician…

But having been thumped by 18 percentage points in his bid for a third term and out of office since 2006, Santorum may have a difficult time appealing to a savvy Hawkeye state electorate that is likely to have a full complement of social conservatives to choose from.