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The Gazette KCRG
Posted September 23, 2011
They’re back; 2012 GOP hopefuls returning to Iowa campaign trail

Republican presidential candidates from left, former New Mexico Gov. Gary Johnson, former Pennsylvania Sen. Rick Santorum, former House Speaker Newt Gingrich, Rep. Ron Paul, R-Texas, Texas Gov. Rick Perry, former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney, Rep. Michele Bachmann, R-Minn, businessman Herman Cain and former Utah Gov. Jon Huntsman gather prior to a debate, Thursday, Sept. 22, 2011, in Orlando, Fla. (AP Photo/John Raoux)


They’re back.

2012 Republican presidential hopefuls have been scarce since the mid-August Iowa GOP Straw Poll. Now, facing the possibility of a compressed precinct caucus campaign schedule, they are slowly returning to cultivate support in the first-in-the-nation state.

Minnesota U.S. Rep. Michele Bachmann will be back in Iowa Monday to campaign in Cedar Rapids. No details yet.

Former Pennsylvania Sen. Rick Santorum will visit a gun show at the Iowa State Fairgrounds Sunday and speak at the Adair County Republican Dinner in the evening.

Texas Gov. Rick Perry will be in Tiffin for a Johnson County Fall Barbecue Oct. 7.

Nearly all of the candidates — including Mitt Romney and Jon Huntsman, who are largely ignoring Iowa — will be in-state Nov. 4 for the Republican Party of Iowa Ronald Reagan Dinner, the state party’s major annual fundraiser. Bachmann, Perry, Herman Cain, former House Speaker Newt Gingrich, U.S. Rep. Ron Paul and Santorum have committed to speaking at the dinner.

Iowa campaign leaders say they expect their candidates to increase the amount of time they’re spending in the state as the ramp up efforts to secure precinct caucus support.

“We’re pushing to have him here as often as we can,” said Matt Gronewald, Perry’s Iowa state director. “We’re trying to get him to do retail politics here because once people see him they like him.

“I haven’t seen a candidate who works a room better than him,” Gronewald added.

Bachmann’s spokeswoman Alice Stewart also predicted Iowans will see more of her boss in the coming months.

“I think she’ll be spending quite a bit of time in Iowa,” Stewart said about Bachmann, who is counting on a caucus win in her native state.

Gronewald expects all candidates who are serious about competing in Iowa will increase the amount of time they spend in Iowa because of the possibility the caucuses will be earlier than planned.

The caucuses are scheduled for Feb. 6, but as Arizona, Michigan and Florida jockey for early campaign season attention, the Iowa campaigns have to adjust, Gronewald said.

“I’m running the campaign like the caucuses will be the middle of December and hoping for Feb. 6,” he said.

Ron Paul’s Iowa campaign director Drew Ivers expects the caucuses to be moved up to the end of January, possibly mid-January.

“A week isn’t a major impact,” Ivers said. “We just have to crank out a little more, a little faster, but it’s a relatively small adjustment.” If the caucuses are earlier than that, it could have a big impact on campaigning, he added.

Santorum will visit a gun show at the Iowa State Fairgrounds, East 30th Street and East University Avenue, Des Moines at 12:30 p.m. Sept. 25 and speak to a GOP fundraiser at the Commons Events Center, 112 NE Hayes St., Greenfield, at 5:30 p.m.

Perry will be at Johnson County Republican Annual Fall Barbecue Oct. 7 at Clear Creek-Amana High School, 551 W. Marengo Rd, (Hwy 6), Tiffin. Serving will be from 5:30 to 7 p.m. Perry will speak at 7 p.m. RSVP no later than Oct. 1 to jcrepublicans@hotmail.com.

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