Romney Target List Omits Iowa

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This looks like a sign that Mitt Romney is indeed planning to skip Iowa in 2012.

The Wall Street Journal reports that Romney, who is almost certainly running for president, sketched out a plan for early primary states to fundraisers this week, and, as a source points out, Iowa is quite noticeably absent from his priority list:

On Tuesday, Mr. Romney met with fund-raisers in downtown Washington, where he also gave his view of the early nominating caucuses and primaries.

Mr. Romney said he needed to do well in the New Hampshire and Florida primaries and Nevada's caucuses, while emerging from those early states with enough money to convince undecided voters that he would have the financial firepower to get to the finish line.

He said he expected to win in Nevada, as he did in 2008, and that he saw Florida's primary as pivotal, with only two candidates likely to emerge from that state able to compete in the later primaries. Less clear was his thinking on the nation's first nominating contest--the Iowa caucuses--where socially conservative voters dominate and where Mr. Romney placed a distant second in 2008.

In 2008, Romney ran an aggressive campaign in Iowa and took a disappointing second to Mike Huckabee, after sinking considerable time and money into the state. Huckabee pulled in 34.4 percent in 2008; Romney took 25.2 percent; Fred Thompson placed third with 13.4 percent; John McCain took fourth with 13.1 percent.

Romney may still have significant clout in Iowa. Well after the 2008 primary, an Iowa GOP source suggested that Huckabee and Romney still had the strongest support networks of any Republican in the state, and that if the two both ran in 2012, Iowa Republicans would be divided, and an intense and bitter war would ensue.

But National Journal's Reid Wilson reported in January that Romney aides had been talking about skipping Iowa altogether this time around. With just about every other presidential traveling to Iowa to test the waters, it looks like Romney might avoid spending his resources on a crowded contest in the Hawkeye State.

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Chris Good is a political reporter for ABC News. He was previously an associate editor at The Atlantic and a reporter for The Hill.

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