In August, Romney plans to hold seven town hall events in New Hampshire, where he owns a vacation home and which will hold what he views as a must-win primary. He is scheduled to spend two days campaigning in Iowa, home to the nation’s first caucuses, and will hold fundraisers and possibly public events elsewhere across the country, including California, New York, Texas and Utah.
His campaign will intensify further in September, when he has committed to take the stage at three debates and plans to begin rolling out a detailed policy agenda with a series of major speeches.
Romney has kept a deliberately quiet profile in the early months of the campaign, even as he has faced pressure from some supporters to escalate his public activity. It’s a strategy that seems to have served him well, as he has amassed a monetary advantage and kept his lead in polls.
But the Aug. 13 Iowa straw poll and the potential competition from Texas Gov. Rick Perry are likely to change the contours of the race and might be the strongest challenge yet to Romney’s front-runner status.
Romney’s advisers said the campaign’s new energy is not a reaction to Perry’s emergence or any other developments in the race.
“There’s a reason the success of Christmas sales in July is not tremendous,” said Stuart Stevens, Romney’s chief strategist. “There’s a rhythm to these things, and you want to talk about stuff when people are paying attention. I just think a whole level of people are going to begin to start to focus more in the fall.”
Stevens said Romney is “working like a dog.” Indeed, his travel itinerary over the past few months has been intense. But the majority of his visits have been for fundraising events closed to the media. Last week, he held just one public event, a factory tour and speech in Pataskala, Ohio. He has no events planned for this week; aides said he is resting with his family in New Hampshire at their home on Lake Winnipesaukee.
Romney will begin his new push on Monday with a town hall meeting in Nashua, N.H. From there, he plans to head to Iowa, where he will campaign Aug. 10 and visit the State Fair on Aug. 11 before that evening’s debate in Des Moines. Romney, who is skipping the straw poll, will return to New Hampshire on Aug. 12 for a forum at Republican activist Ovide Lamontagne’s house in Manchester. Romney plans more New Hampshire town hall events on Aug. 15 in Plymouth, Aug. 16 in Berlin, Aug. 24 in Lebanon, and Aug. 25 in Kingston and Dover.