2012 Hopefuls Visit New Hampshire, Boost Republican Ticket

A hot gubernatorial race in New Hampshire is bringing some familiar faces to the First in the Nation presidential primary state.

Democratic Governor John Lynch is seeking a fourth two-year term, and as recently as July had a double-digit lead in the polls.

However, the latest statewide telephone survey from Rasmussen Reports shows Lynch only leading former state health and human services commissioner and Republican challenger John Stephen by a slim 48 percent to 46.

It seems that news is enough to bring back some of New Hampshire's most ardent admirers, a handful of 2012 GOP presidential hopefuls.

Former Massachusetts Governor and 2008 GOP presidential candidate Mitt Romney will be in New Hampshire on Saturday to deliver the keynote address at the New Hampshire Republican convention in Concord; afterwards he will host a fundraiser for John Stephen in Londonderry.

Romney has been following the cardinal rule for presidential hopefuls in New Hampshire; show your face early and often. He has also been making friends among New Hampshire Republicans with cold, hard cash. Free and Strong America, Romney's Political Action Committee, is committing a total of $40,000 to the New Hampshire GOP ticket.

Mississippi Governor Haley Barbour, chairman of the Republican Governors Association, will be in New Hampshire on Monday, headlining a fundraiser for Stephen in Manchester. Barbour, at least, has some plausible deniability, since as the chairman of the RGA, he is in the business of electing Republican governors. However, his name has also been prominent in many 2012 discussions.

Outgoing Minnesota governor Tim Pawlenty has been making the moves necessary for a 2012 run for months and will be in the New Hampshire on September 30th supporting Stephen.

Pawlenty's PAC, Freedom First, is also contributing heavily to Granite State Republicans, donating $27,000 to senatorial candidates all the way down to local candidates for sheriff.