Pawlenty Heading Back To New Hampshire

Minnesota Gov. Tim Pawlenty (R) has already been to New Hampshire once in the past few months, and he'll make his second 2012-election-cycle trip to the Granite State in March.

The governor says he's been invited by the Manchester Republican Committee to headline its Lincoln-Reagan Day Dinner on March 25.

Pawlenty posted on  his Facebook page this morning:

The Manchester Republican Committee invited me to keynote their Lincoln-Reagan Day Dinner on March 25. I'm glad to do it -- it's a great event that will help Republicans win in 2010. Can any Granite Staters tell me when the ice-out is? Would be fun to also play some hockey while I'm there.

Events like the Manchester Lincoln-Reagan Day Dinner are the bread and butter of presidential campaigns: in key primary states, they give candidates the opportunity to get face time and build support from the local party members and activists that play an important role in presidential primaries.

Pawlenty went to New Hampshire in December to keynote the New Hampshire GOP's state Senate campaign PAC; he traveled to Iowa in November deliver the keynote address at a GOP fundraiser at the Iowa State Fairgrounds.

The Minnesota governor still lacks the national name recognition and star power of some other heavy-hitting 2012 contenders--reflected by his low showing in the latest Gallup poll of Republicans on 2012--but he's worked to build relationships with local partisans in key primary states early in the 2012 cycle, including Iowa, New Hampshire, and Florida, and his political organization (the Freedom First PAC) amassed donations at an impressive speed at the end of 2009, raking in $1.2 million in the fourth quarter after its launch in October.