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Romney, Santorum trumpet N.H. endorsements

Even as he barnstorms around Iowa seeking votes in the last days before the Iowa caucus, former Massachusetts Governor Mitt Romney is not ignoring New Hampshire.

Romney was the only one of the candidates competing in Iowa who also visited New Hampshire this past week – with a quick trip on Friday and Saturday. Romney announced today that former New Hampshire Governor John H. Sununu and Manchester Mayor Ted Gatsas will phone bank with Romney supporters tonight in Manchester.

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Romney also chose today – the eve of the Iowa caucuses – to roll out another 15 endorsements from New Hampshire state representatives.

Romney is leading in all the New Hampshire polls.

Former Pennsylvania Senator Rick Santorum – recently emerging as a potential leading contender in the Iowa caucuses – also wants to make clear that he is not ignoring the Granite State. Santorum released names of another five New Hampshire endorsements today. And unlike several of the more conservative candidates, Santorum said he will be coming to New Hampshire immediately after the Iowa caucuses. Michele Bachmann and Rick Perry plan to travel to South Carolina instead.

Santorum, Perry, and Bachmann – social conservatives and Tea Party favorites – have not done particularly well in New Hampshire so far, but Santorum could be hoping to encourage socially conservative and evangelical voters to coalesce around him, in the absence of some of his closest competitors.

Shira Schoenberg can be reached at sschoenberg@globe.com. Follow her on Twitter @shiraschoenberg.
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