Trump in town to talk to GOP, weighing presidential candidacy

CARSON CITY -- Donald Trump plans to speak to Republican activists in Las Vegas next week as he flirts with the idea of running for president.

The owner of the Trump International Hotel and Tower on the Strip has been making headlines lately by leading other potential GOP presidential candidates in several polls .

Trump is scheduled to speak to several GOP women's groups on April 28 at Treasure Island, a person familiar with his schedule said Tuesday. More than 200 Republicans are expected at the event, which will run from about 5:30 p.m. until 7:30 p.m.

Betty Rumford, president of the Spring Mountain Republican Women's club, confirmed that her group was involved in organizing the event along with four other GOP clubs.

"I think there will be great interest in him and all the other possible presidential candidates," Rumford said. "We want to give everyone a shot. And we'd like the people of Las Vegas to hear their messages, what they have to say, as they come through Nevada."

Nevada stands to play an important early role in winnowing the field of GOP presidential candidates. The state's Republican presidential caucus will be the third early voting test of candidates in February 2012 after the Iowa caucus and the New Hampshire primary.

And Republicans from across the West will meet at a conference this fall in Las Vegas where CNN is scheduled to moderate a nationally televised GOP presidential debate. A straw poll is planned at the end of the conference as candidates compete for the GOP nomination.

Trump is among at least half a dozen Republicans who have been targeting Nevada with visits so far this year. Former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney, former Minnesota Gov. Tim Pawlenty, Mississippi Gov. Haley Barbour and former Pennsylvania Congressman Rick Santorum recently visited the state.

Pawlenty was in Las Vegas on Tuesday to meet privately with potential donors to his campaign. His spokesman Alex Conant described the gatherings as "finance meetings." Pawlenty has been working quietly and steadily behind the scenes in Nevada to build up support, both political and financial.

Trump already is scheduled to be in Las Vegas next week to help his billionaire buddy Steve Wynn celebrate his April 30 wedding to Andrea Hissom, a British divorcee.