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Perry not waiting for N.H. to get started in S.C.


COULMBIA, S.C. -- For Rick Perry, the sprint towards South Carolina’s January 21st primary begins not after New Hampshire, but just hours after the winner of the Iowa caucus is announced.

The Texas governor's tour of South Carolina begins on Jan. 4 in Aiken County at 3:30 p.m. with a walk through downtown Aiken followed by a “Rally in the Alley” there. He then travels west to North Augusta (about 15 minutes away from Augusta, Georgia) to meet with voters at Al’s Family Restaurant.

While Perry’s efforts in South Carolina so far have not paid off much (he had 6 percent in a December NBC News-Marist poll of voters here) his campaign is betting that with its evangelical voters and large military community, South Carolina is more fertile ground for a Perry revival than New Hampshire.

Perry’s campaign is not the only one looking to generate early South Carolina buzz. Newt Gingrich, who said earlier this week that South Carolina is a must-win for him (his spokesman later tried to walk that comment back), will start his South Carolina tour in the Upstate on the morning of January 11th, a day after the New Hampshire contest.

Gingrich’s campaign has already announced that he will be in Rock Hill, near Charlotte, N.C, for a town hall at 9 a.m. Later that day, he will be in Spartanburg, another voter-rich Upstate region, for a luncheon with the county Republican Party and a town hall meeting at the Beacon restaurant, a popular stop for presidential hopefuls.

Later that night, Gingrich and his wife Callista will attend a private house party in Greenville, which guests will pay between $500 and $5,000 to attend.

The day before the January 21st vote, Gingrich will participate in a get-out-the-vote rally at Coker College in Hartsville, located in the northeastern Pee Dee region of the state.

And while Jon Huntsman is staking a big claim in New Hampshire, his three daughters will be in Columbia on January 5th as guests on Pub Politics, an Internet talk show hosted by Republican consultant Wesley Donehue, a Bachmann adviser, and Democratic strategist Phil Bailey.