Sen. Rand Paul (R-Ky.) is taking a classic early step toward a 2016 presidential bid: he's headed to Iowa.

Paul will headline the Republican Party of Iowa’s annual "Lincoln Dinner" on May 10. 

Iowa Republican Party Chairman A.J. Spiker -- a backer of Rep. Ron Paul (R-Texas) in 2012 -- made clear that he invited the senator with presidential considerations in mind.

“Senator Rand Paul’s 13-hour filibuster earlier this month caught the attention of Republicans across the nation who are seeking GOP leaders who will stand up to Barack Obama," Spiker said. "As the ‘First in the Nation’ state, we immediately extended an invite to Senator Paul to allow him to introduce himself to Iowa Republicans."

Another ambitious Republican, Virginia Attorney General Ken Cuccinelli, headlined the dinner last year. In 2011, Donald Trump was scheduled to appear at the dinner, only to cancel after announcing that he would not run for president.