With a scant eight days to go until the Iowa caucus, presidential campaigns are going full-throttle following a brief Christmas reprieve. As such, almost every candidate is hitting the ground in frigid Iowa or New Hampshire.
Not Mike Huckabee or Rudy Giuliani, however. The former Arkansas governor and New York City mayor are making stops in sunny Florida, an early-voting state but not one of the first three. For Giuliani, the choice is logical. Long ago, his campaign strategists wrote off Iowa and New Hampshire in favor of the bigger states (with more votes) later in the electoral map.
But for Huckabee the move is a bit peculiar. He is already surging in Florida, trailing the leader Giuliani by four percentage points in a recent Strategic Vision poll, even though he has campaigned primarily elsewhere. And while the former Baptist minister finds himself on top of most polls in Iowa, it is anything but a secure position. The Real Clear Politics average has him at 29.2 percent to former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney's 25.5 percent. Moreover, in New Hampshire, a place where he could directly capitalize on his strong showing in Iowa, there is ground to be gained. Huckabee is currently in fourth place at 10.3 percent to Romney's leading 29.8 percent.
Nevertheless, Huckabee is choosing to spend the next two days in the Sunshine state, with an event at 6:00 pm Wednesday in Miami and a fundraiser and media availability the next morning in Winter Park and Orlando respectively. He shouldn't have much trouble competing for the political spotlight. As you can see on the daily schedule below, almost every other candidate will be thousands of miles north.
10:00 am: Mitt Romney meets with voters on Main Street in Concord, New Hampshire
11:45 am: Barack Obama holds a town hall meeting in Mason City, Iowa
1:00 pm: John Edwards holds a town hall in Conway, New Hampshire
2:15 pm: Mitt Romney meets with voters in a ski area in Henniker, New Hampshire
2:15 pm: Rudy Giuliani participates in a veterans roundtable and holds a press availability in Largo, Florida
3:30 pm: Hillary Clinton kicks off the "Big Challenges, Real Solutions - Time To Pick A President" tour with Bill Clinton, Gov. Tom Vilsack and Christie Vilsack in Mount Pleasant, Iowa
3:45 pm: Mitt Romney meets with voters in Hooksett, New Hampshire
4:00 pm: Barack Obama holds a "meet the candidate" event in Webster City, Iowa
4:45 pm: John Edwards holds a town hall in Laconia, New Hampshire
6:00 pm: Mike Huckabee attends a fundraising reception by Florida house Speaker Marco Rubio, State Senator Alex Diaz de la Portilla and State Representative David Rivera in Miami
6:15 pm: Mitt Romney holds a Merrimack "Ask Mitt Anything" town hall in New Hampshire
6:15 pm: Barack Obama holds a rally in Carroll, Iowa
7:00 pm: John McCain holds a media availability, followed by a town hall meeting in Council Bluffs, Iowa
7:00 pm: John Edwards holds a Manchester Organizing Convention in New Hampshire
7:00 pm: Joe Biden and his sister attend a caucus countdown event at the Italian American Cultural Center in Des Moines, Iowa
7:15 pm: Hillary Clinton attends a "Pick the President" event in Pella, Iowa
8:00 pm: Fred Thompson meets with voters in Creston, Iowa
8:00 pm: John Edwards holds a Salem Organizing Convention in New Hampshire
9:45 pm: Hillary Clinton attends a "Pick the President" event in Cumming, Iowa