KEENE, N.H. — Former House speaker Newt Gingrich will visit Iowa and New Hampshire on Wednesday to officially pick up two of the biggest endorsements of his presidential campaign — from the state House speakers in both early-voting states.
But in an effort to bracket Gingrich’s cross-country announcements, former Massachusetts governor Mitt Romney plans to reveal some endorsements of his own. Romney will roll out the backing of a former Iowa state House speaker and two former New Hampshire state House speakers, who will join another former Iowa state House speaker and three other former New Hampshire state House speakers already on the Romney bandwagon, according to a Romney campaign official.
This is the latest in a string of efforts by the Romney campaign to show off its organizational firepower. While Gingrich is jetting to Virginia Wednesday night to hold a rally with supporters designed to help him gather the required petition signatures to appear on Virginia’s ballot, Romney announced this week that his top Virginia surrogate, Lt. Gov. Bill Bolling, would submit Romney’s petitions to the State Board of Elections on Tuesday afternoon.
In Iowa, which holds the first-in-the-nation caucuses on Jan. 3, Kraig Paulsen, who became state House speaker this year, will endorse Gingrich Wednesday morning at the state capitol in Des Moines. Meanwhile, Brent Siegrist, who served as House speaker from 1998 to 2002, will endorse Romney. Chris Rants, who was speaker from 2003 to 2006, backed Romney earlier this year.
In New Hampshire, which holds the first-in-the-nation primary on Jan. 10, Gingrich will pick up the support of Bill O’Brien, who became state House speaker this year, at a Wednesday afternoon event in Manchester. Romney, meanwhile, will announce the support of George Roberts, who served as House speaker from 1975 to 1980, and Howard Burns, who served as House speaker from 1991 to 1996. They join former House speakers John Tucker (1981 to 1986), Donna Sytek (1997 to 2000) and Doug Scamman (1987 to 1990 and 2005 to 2006), who had already announced their endorsements of Romney.
Romney, in a statement his campaign plans to release Wednesday, said: “I am proud to have the support of these distinguished Iowa and New Hampshire House Speakers. They have made a significant contribution to their states and have taken a strong stand for the fiscally conservative principles of limited taxation and smaller government. I look forward to campaigning with them across Iowa and New Hampshire in the final weeks before the caucuses and the first in the nation primary.”
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