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Fresh off his first visit to South Carolina, Gov. Scott Walker is already booked for a return trip to the Palmetto State in early May.

Walker has confirmed he will attend the South Carolina Freedom Summit on May 9 in Greenville, a spokesman for Citizens United, which is organizing the event, said Monday morning.

The event will feature Texas Sen. Ted Cruz, who launched his 2016 presidential campaign on Monday. Other potential presidential candidates expected to attend include retired pediatric neurosurgeon Ben Carson, Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jindal, former Hewlett-Packard CEO Carly Fiorina, former Pennsylvania Sen. Rick Santorum, former Texas Gov. Rick Perry, South Carolina Sen. Lindsey Graham and former New York Gov. George Pataki.

Hosting the event is U.S. Rep. Jeff Duncan, who was first elected during the tea party wave of 2010 and ranks among the most conservative members of Congress.

The event is billed as a gathering of “grassroots activists from across South Carolina and the surrounding area to hear directly from conservative leaders on how we can get America back on track by focusing on our core principles of pro-growth economics, social conservatism and a strong national defense.”

Citizens United is best known for being the main plaintiff in a U.S. Supreme Court case that lifted the ban on corporate, nonprofit and union political spending in federal elections. The conservative group previously sponsored the Iowa Freedom Summit in Des Moines in late January, when Walker delivered a rousing speech that garnered national media attention and catapulted him into the top tier of potential presidential candidates.

The group also hosted a coffee reception that drew a packed room for Walker at the Conservative Political Action Conference just outside Washington, D.C., in late February.

Walker spent two days last week crisscrossing the state that holds the first-in-the-South presidential primary early next year. It was his first visit there since August 2013.

Walker spoke at five events to hundreds of GOP activists and also met with Gov. Nikki Haley and Republican state lawmakers.

The previous weekend he visited New Hampshire for the first time since September 2012. He plans to return to New Hampshire on April 17 and 18 for a Republican Leadership Summit that will also feature Cruz and more than a dozen presidential contenders, including former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush, Florida Sen. Marco Rubio and Kentucky Sen. Rand Paul.


Matthew DeFour covers state government and politics for the Wisconsin State Journal.

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