Mitt Romney will officially launch his presidential campaign on June 2 in New Hampshire, the state that holds the nation's first primary and is the lynchpin to his second bid for the White House.
Romney, the former governor of Massachusetts who owns a home in Wolfeboro, will make his announcement at a noontime barbecue at the Stratham home of Doug and Stella Scamman, both former state lawmakers. The date and venue was first reported by the New Hampshire Union Leader on Thursday night and later confirmed by National Journal.
Romney finished second to John McCain in the 2008 primary in New Hampshire and has long eyed the Granite State as friendly turf. The latest University of New Hampshire poll showed him the front-runner, favored by about one-third of the participants.
Republicans in New Hampshire traditionally are more politically moderate than their counterparts in Iowa, which holds the first caucus, and South Carolina, slated to vote after New Hampshire. New Hampshire's electorate includes fewer religious conservatives skeptical of Romney's Mormonism and changes of heart on abortion and civil unions, which he now opposes.
Romney is slated to visit Iowa for the first time this year on Friday, and he was in South Carolina last week. He is expected to make periodic but not frequent appearances in those two states, while forging his path to the nomination with strong finishes in New Hampshire as well as Nevada and Florida, which vote after South Carolina.
Romney's formal entrance into the race almost certainly means he will participate in a CNN debate on June 13 in Manchester. He skipped the first Republican primary debate in South Carolina earlier this month.