N.H. activists' search for candidate leads to Texas

/ Source: The Associated Press

Still searching for a 2012 candidate, Republican activists from New Hampshire plan to visit Texas next week to encourage Gov. Rick Perry to run for president.

The New Hampshire delegation, to be led by former Republican National committeeman Sean Mahoney and former state GOP executive director Paul Young, also intends to stress the importance of the state's first-in-the-nation presidential primary.

"Most of the folks who will be going down have seen what Gov. Perry stands for and his strong conservative track record," Mahoney said Wednesday. "And I think there's a large bloc of New Hampshire Republicans who feel like his stance on the issues are exactly what the country needs right now."

Perry's aides have been laying the groundwork for a White House bid and Perry has been talking influential Republicans in early voting states. He is expected to jump in when he announces a decision in the coming weeks.

Recent public polling puts him near the top of the field, now led by former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney.

Perry has yet to travel to New Hampshire this year, but he telephoned prominent Republican officials in New Hampshire and Iowa this month to gauge their interest in his candidacy. His top political strategist, Dave Carney, is based in New Hampshire.

Perry also is scheduled to headline a dinner fundraiser for a leading New Hampshire conservative organization in October.