Fresh from Iowa, presidential hopefuls to visit SC, Beaufort County

tbarton@islandpacket.comJanuary 3, 2012 

GOP presidential hopefuls Rick Perry and Michele Bachmann head to the Palmetto State today following Tuesday's Iowa caucuses, including a swing in Beaufort County by the Texas governor later this week.

Another Republican candidate, Mitt Romney, will get help from Gov. Nikki Haley, who will campaign for him in South Carolina and in New Hampshire.

Haley, who endorsed Romney in December, will travel with the former Massachusetts governor Thursday and Friday, according to her office. They will be in Charleston on Thursday, in Myrtle Beach and New Hampshire on Friday and will remain in New Hampshire on Saturday.

"The election next November will have ramifications for generations," Haley said in a Romney campaign release. "Neither South Carolina nor the nation can afford four more years of President Obama, and Mitt Romney is the right person to take him on and get America back on track."

Perry will travel first to Aiken before stopping to participate in meet-and-greet events Friday morning in Beaufort and Bluffton, followed by a walk on Hilton Head Island, according to a release from his campaign.

He will meet voters in Beaufort County beginning at 9:30 a.m. at Magnolia Bakery, 703 Congress St. in Beaufort. He then heads to the Squat 'n' Gobble, 1231 May River Road in Bluffton, at 12:15 p.m., followed by a "main street walk" at 1:40 p.m. at Coligny Plaza on Hilton Head Island.

South Carolina's first-in-the-South primary is Jan. 21. New Hampshire's is Jan. 10.

The most recent S.C. polls place Perry in the single digits, trailing Romney, former House Speaker Newt Gingrich, and fellow Lone Star State candidate U.S. Rep. Ron Paul. A Dec. 19 Palmetto Poll from Clemson University of 600 S.C. voters has Gingrich with a 17-point lead over Romney, at 38 percent to 21 percent.

Paul received 10 percent, followed by Perry and Minnesota Congresswoman Michele Bachmann tied with 5 percent.

Bachmann will make stops Wednesday, Thursday and Friday in Fort Mill, Greenville and Spartanburg, according to her campaign.

Alice Stewart, communications director for the Bachmann campaign, said Iowa has always been a heavy focus for the Minnesota congresswoman, who was born in Waterloo, but so, too, has South Carolina. Both states have key voting blocs of fiscal conservatives and evangelical support crucial to her and Perry's survival in the race.

"Iowa has the same voting bloc representative of people in South Carolina -- fiscal conservatives and people strong on family, faith and pro-life," Stewart said.

The rest of the Republican presidential field will spend the week in New Hampshire, according to their campaign websites. Attempts Tuesday to reach representatives from the campaigns were unsuccessful.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

Follow reporter Tom Barton at twitter.com/EyeOnHiltonHead

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