The Week Ahead: Where Are They?

Campaigns that have been a year or more in the making will be shaped dramatically in the coming weeks.  The first two contests in the quest for the GOP nomination (January 3rd’s Iowa Caucus and January 10th’s New Hampshire Primary) won’t necessarily determine the party’s nominee, but they will filter the field as the calendar rolls on to South Carolina, Florida, and then the February and Super Tuesday primaries.   So where are the candidates in this all important final crush? A look at their schedules this week:

Mitt Romney: Romney’s campaign has been releasing stump schedules with as little as one day’s notice.  He spends the better part of Tuesday in New Hampshire after a three day bus tour here last week.  He starts with an 8:30 breakfast at the Coach Stop in Londonderry, followed by a noontime event at Geno’s Chowder & Sandwich Shop in Portsmouth.  The latter will be an intimate affair to say the least.  Geno’s is not very big.  Then Mitt heads west.  His Tuesday itinerary ends with a speech in Davenport Iowa in the evening.  He’ll likely put in some time in the Hawkeye State this week, though he’s been relying heavily on family members, supporters, and TV campaigns to spread his word.

Newt Gingirch: As he tries to stop the skid in the polls (though still narrowly in the lead or tied in national averages), Gingirch gasses up the bus and heads through Iowa for a three day, eleven city “Newt 2012 Jobs and Prosperity” tour.  His campaign has promised a full slate of dates through January 3rd is on the way.  He’s not used the word jobs much since his launch into the front runner’s seat – perhaps another reason why early state voters who latched on to his rise haven’t appeared to stick around.  The campaign has also announced five new members added to the Newt Hampshire leadership team:  Philbrick’s Sports owner Dan Philbrick, formers state rep and state senate candidate Paul Laflamme, former Dover city councilor David Scott, former Dover mayor and police chief Charlie Reynolds and Nashua businessman Sy Mahfuz.

Ron Paul: The current front runner in Iowa is going to keep working it there until the caucus.  Paul is scheduled in town halls, meet and greets, and media interviews through January 3rd.  A possible win in Iowa and a strong show in New Hampshire could keep Paul in the race longer than most would have expected at the onset of the 2012 campaign.

Jon Huntsman:  Huntsman has laid out a 13 day “Restoring Trust” tour that will hit all 10 counties of New Hampshire.  His slow, methodical New Hampshire strategy has begun to earn him some points in the polls here.  It will be interesting to see where else he can get some attention with a good finish in the FITN.  The first three days of his tour have been announced, with more details to come near the end of the week.  Catch him at any of these stops:

Pelham town hall meeting

7 p.m.  Wednesday @ Pelham Town Hall

Laconia Rotary meeting

12 noon Thursday @ the Belknap Mill in Laconia

Wolfeboro town hall meeting

7 p.m. Thursday @ Wright Museum

Bow Rotary meeting

7:30 a.m. Friday @ Old Town Hall

Canterbury town hall meeting

7 p.m. @ Canterbury Town Hall

Rick Perry:   The Texas Governor is the only candidate who’s laid out his full schedule of events between now and the caucus.  His final push there, where he trails Paul, Gingrich and Romney, puts him at 19 appearances in 7 days.  His is the shortest campaign of the major players still left in the race, though he’s probably focused on Iowa more than any other early contests state.   The Perry campaign launched a new ad in Iowa Monday called “Part Time Congress,” an interesting but long shot concept he unveiled last month that you can see here.

Michele Bachmann: Bachmann continues her 99 county-tour of Iowa with ten stops on Tuesday.  Rick Santorum did a 99 county tour this fall.  An email to supporters touts momentum and the campaign’s conservative message.  Last week she announced that she was in a statistical dead heat with Ron Paul, according to a We Ask America poll, though the last three surveys listed on Real Clear Politics’ grid puts her in fourth or fifth place there.

Rick Santorum: Santorum, the candidate who’s perhaps most heavily campaigned on values, will be in Iowa leading up to the caucuses with final stops on his “Faith, Family and Freedom” tour.  He’s the only candidate to be out in the field on Monday, participating in a post-Christmas pheasant hunt in Adel, IA.

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