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May 26. 2011 6:52PM

Romney to formally announce run for President in NH on June 2

MANCHESTER _ Emphasizing the importance of the first-in-the-nation primary state to his campaign, former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney will formally announce his candidacy for President in New Hampshire next Thursday, June 2.

UnionLeader.com has learned that a noontime barbecue at GOP stalwart Doug and Stella Scamman's Bittersweet Farm in Stratham will be the venue for the Romney announcement. Both Scammans are former New Hampshire House members; Doug Scamman is a former Speaker of the House.

While other candidates have made their formal announcements elsewhere, Romney will be the second of the 2012 cycle to announce in the Granite State. Ron Paul announced his candidacy in Exeter earlier this month. (An earlier version of this story incorrectly reported that Romney would be the first of the cycle to announce in New Hampshire.)

The news was first reported on UnionLeader.com on Thursday night.

It's the second major Romney announcement based in New Hampshire. He recorded a video of his April announcement of the formation of a presidential exploratory committee at Cowell Stadium on the campus of the University of New Hampshire in Durham.

Romney has long been ramping up to the June 2 formal announcement. After finishing second to John McCain in the 2008 primary and then dropping out of the race shortly thereafter, he formed the Free and Strong America PAC to distribute fundraising proceeds to GOP candidates in key states, including New Hampshire in 2009 and especially during the 2010 mid-term election campaign.

Romney, who owns a second home in Wolfeboro, has been the leader in New Hampshire polling since February 2009, the month after President Barack Obama took office.

In a WMUR-CNN poll of likely New Hampshire Republican primary voters conducted by the University of New Hampshire and released earlier this week, Romney led with 32 percent. Running second was libertarian Republican Ron Paul with 9 percent.

A Romney aide said that in his announcement, Romney intends to call for limited government, a cut in the federal debt and a need for strong leadership in international affairs. He'll emphasize his private and public sector experience.

“He has the experience to create jobs and grow the economy, and he is the strongest Republican to defeat President Obama in 2012,” the aide said.

The Scammans' farm has been the site for dozens of political events over the years. They twice hosted George W. Bush, once as a candidate for President and once as President. They hosted an event for former Vice President Dan Quayle.

And they have hosted events for many New Hampshire candidates, from former U.S. Sen. Warren Rudman, former Gov. John H. Sununu and former Gov. and U.S. Sen. Judd Gregg to former Gov. Steve Merrill and former U.S. Sen. John E. Sununu.

“I think it's a great place to have the announcement event,” said Doug Scamman. “It's obvious to me that Governor Romney did a great job as governor and with the Olympics. When I wake up in the middle of the night I'll feel safer knowing he is in the White House than I would with anyone else.”

Food at the barbecue will be prepared and sold by the American Legion Post 35 in Hampton and proceeds will benefit the Global War on Terror Memorial Fund, which will allow the post to complete a memorial at the post.

In addition to hot dogs and hamburgers, the American Legion will also serve Ann Romney's special recipe chili.

The event is ticketed. A phone number for tickets will be announced by the exploratory committee shortly.

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