ABC News' Michael Falcone reports:
In another sign that the next presidential election season is starting earlier than ever, this summer the national political organization, Emily's List, is bringing its campaign to elect a woman president to a state with outsize influence on that process: Iowa.
ABC News has learned that the group, which is devoted to electing pro-abortion rights Democratic women to office, is planning to hold a town hall meeting in Des Moines on Aug. 9 tied to its "Madam President" effort, which aims to put a woman in the White House in 2016.
Timed to coincide with the kick-off of the Iowa State Fair, traditionally a must-stop on the presidential campaign circuit, the event promises a "discussion featuring women candidates and political operatives, the introduction of new data and polling and a question and answer session with the audience."
The panel will include Emily's List President Stephanie Schriock and will be moderated by long-time Iowa political journalist O. Kay Henderson of Radio Iowa. Additional participants will be announced ahead of the event.
"Our polling shows that Iowa voters are absolutely ready to elect our first woman president and now is the time to capitalize on that energy and enthusiasm," Schriock said. "Emily's List is eager to lead this discussion in the state that is the first step to the White House - and offer a clear contrast to the Republican 2016 hopefuls who'll be hawking their backwards agenda at the Iowa State Fair."
Emily's List unveiled its "Madam President" (nicknamed "MPOTUS") push in early May and polls continue to show a woman - former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton - as the early favorite to win the Democratic nomination in 2016 if she decides to run.
But the group isn't only focused on the White House. They have been busy making endorsements in House, Senate, governor and mayoral races around the country for the 2013 and 2014 election cycles.
And Emily's List operatives point out that Iowa is one of four states to have never sent a woman to Congress. They are aiming to change that: Just this week former Iowa Democratic state senator Staci Appel announced her intention to run for Iowa's 3rd Congressional district seat currently held by Republican Rep. Tom Latham.
However, even as Democratic activists get a head start on the 2016 presidential cycle in Iowa this summer, they will have company.
An influential Christian conservative group, the Family Leader, is planning a summit that will take place on Aug. 10 on the Iowa State University campus in Ames featuring potential Republican presidential contenders like Sen. Ted Cruz and Rick Santorum. Donald Trump is also scheduled to speak and other top GOP leaders are likely to attend the Family Leadership Summit and drop by the Iowa State Fair.
ABC's Garrett Bruno contributed reporting.
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- Iowa State Fair
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