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Romney picks N.H. event to launch presidential bid

By Matt Viser
Globe Staff / May 27, 2011

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DES MOINES — Mitt Romney is planning to announce next week what has been a poorly kept secret for months: He’s running for president.

The former Massachusetts governor will make it official in New Hampshire, in an indication of just how vital the Granite State is to his second presidential bid.

The kickoff of the campaign will be next Thursday at an afternoon barbecue in Stratham, N.H. It will be held at the Bittersweet Farm, operated by Republicans Doug and Stella Scamman. The menu is expected to consist of hot dogs, hamburgers, and chili made from Ann Romney’s special recipe.

Romney’s campaign activities have seen a notable uptick in recent weeks, with visits around the country to raise money and stoke a political network that remains largely intact from his 2008 campaign. Earlier this month, he raised more than $10 million with a phone-athon in Las Vegas. He is planning to make his first trip of the year today to Iowa, which will hold the first nominating contest of 2012. Nevada is also an important early primary state.

So far, though, Romney has placed far more emphasis on New Hampshire, as shown by his choice to make his formal announcement there next week. Four years ago, he lost the state’s primary to Senator John McCain, who went on to win the nomination.

Romney also used New Hampshire to make his announcement that he was forming a presidential exploratory committee, the first step in mounting a run. He recorded a video at the University of New Hampshire and released it on his website.

News of his formal announcement was first reported by the Union Leader in Manchester and confirmed by a Romney spokeswoman.

Former Minnesota governor Tim Pawlenty announced this week in Des Moines that he was running for president. Former House speaker Newt Gingrich and Herman Cain, a former businessman, also announced earlier this month that they were running. Several others, including former senator Rick Santorum of Pennsylvania and Representative Michele Bachmann of Minnesota, are expected to announce their plans soon.

Former Alaska governor Sarah Palin is planning a bus tour, starting Sunday, from Washington up through New England. Some of her recent activities have stoked speculation that she will enter the race.

Matt Viser can be reached at maviser@globe.com. Follow him on Twitter @mviser.