Romney to Fight for Iowa Win

From the New York Times:

 

Mr. Romney, who has been cautiously calibrating expectations about his chances in a state full of social conservatives, is now playing to win the Iowa caucuses. Television commercials are on the way, volunteers are arriving and a stealth operation is ready to burst into view in the weeks leading up to the caucuses, the first Republican nominating contest, on Jan. 3. …

Volunteers and a skeleton staff have been diligently reconnecting with the 29,949 people who supported Mr. Romney four years ago when he won 25 percent of the vote. He fell short to former Gov. Mike Huckabee of Arkansas, but party strategists say the same level of support could be enough for Mr. Romney to win because the social conservative vote is likely to split.

The campaign, which does not want its supporters to go elsewhere just because Mr. Romney did not ask for their vote, is recruiting precinct leaders and focusing its attention on counties he won. But aides are also working to identify Republicans and independents frustrated at the country’s direction who could be persuaded to attend their first caucus. They will receive a nudge suggesting that spending 30 minutes on a January night is preferable to a second Obama term.

In the past few months, Romney has been picking and choosing which Iowa events to attend: he skipped the Ames Straw Poll in August, and more recently, the influential Reagan Dinner held earlier this month in Des Moines. But he has visited the state a handful of times. 

In 2008, Romney fought hard for Iowa — and his campaign was dealt a sharp blow when Huckabee won. With the exception of one poll released Friday (which showed Newt Gingrich two percentage points behind Romney), he has been the frontrunner in the New Hampshire polls, often ahead by huge margins — ten, twenty points. For Romney, an Iowa win, if paired with a New Hampshire win, could make him the dominant candidate. But if he plays hard in Iowa — and loses — it could threaten his secure perch in New Hampshire. 

Katrina Trinko — Katrina Trinko is a political reporter for National Review. Trinko is also a member of USA TODAY’S Board of Contributors, and her work has been published in various media outlets ...

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