Hopefuls gear up ahead of Iowa caucuses

Dec. 26, 2011 at 8:05 AM   |   Comments

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DES MOINES, Iowa, Dec. 26 (UPI) -- Republican presidential hopefuls this week begin the final sprint ahead of the first caucuses in Iowa and first-in-the-nation primary in New Hampshire.

Candidates switched to full-on campaign mode ahead of the Jan. 3 Iowa caucuses and New Hampshire primary Jan. 10.

Former U.S. Sen. Rick Santorum of Pennsylvania returns to Iowa this week, starting with a pheasant hunt and news conference in Adel Monday, Politico reported.

Former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney, consistently a top-tier candidate, has stops in New Hampshire scheduled for Tuesday before traveling Iowa for a three-day bus swing beginning Wednesday.

After visiting his wife's family in Wisconsin, former House Speaker Newt Gingrich is expected to start a 44-city bus tour in Iowa Tuesday. Gingrich enjoyed a surge in popularity recently in some national polls, but that popularity has cooled somewhat.

Rep. Ron Paul of Texas, perched atop some Iowa polls, has three stops in the Hawkeye State later this week, Politico said.

Texas Gov. Rick Perry, wrapping up a break from his 42-town bus tour, is to return to Iowa Tuesday.

Rep. Michele Bachmann of Minnesota resumes her effort to meet her goal of visiting all 99 Iowa counties before caucus day.

Former Utah Gov. Jon Huntsman won't be in Iowa this week, Politico said, returning later this week to New Hampshire in the final run-up to the Jan. 10 primary.

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