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The Huffington Post  |  By Posted:  |  Updated: 03/30/12 03:55 PM ET

GOP Candidates Pander To Local Voters in 2012 Primary States (PHOTOS)

Mitt Romney really likes grits, y'all. Rick Santorum was practically the senator of Puerto Rico. And Newt Gingrich just loves bass fishing.

Pandering to voters by embracing local traditions is a time-honored election strategy. Starting in wintry Iowa, candidates visit local restaurants, profess their love for regional cuisine and generally strive to prove to voters that they're really not so different.

"I was bowling in Sheboygan yesterday with a bunch of folks at a tournament and threw three strikes in a row," Santorum said last Sunday. "That's a turkey. That tells you that you've got someone here who can relate to the voters in Wisconsin, just like those of us in western Pennsylvania who grew up in the bowling lanes."

Of course, efforts to identify with a state or demographic can also go horribly awry -- take Michele Bachmann's effort to play up her hometown Iowa cred, in which she ended up inadvertently comparing herself to serial killer John Wayne Gacy. Or Herman Cain's attempt to connect with Miami, Florida voters by sampling Cuban coffee and asking, "How do you say delicious in Cuban?"

Here's a look at some of the efforts -- successful or not -- made by candidates to connect to state primary voters:

Romney's 'Humorous' Anecdote
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Attempting to connect with Wisconsin voters, Mitt Romney shared an anecdote about his father shutting down a Michigan factory and moving production to Wisconsin:

One of [the] most humorous I think relates to my father. You may remember my father, George Romney, was president of an automobile company called American Motors. ... They had a factory in Michigan, and they had a factory in Kenosha, Wisconsin, and another one in Milwaukee, Wisconsin. And as the president of the company he decided to close the factory in Michigan and move all the production to Wisconsin. Now later he decided to run for governor of Michigan and so you can imagine that having closed the factory and moved all the production to Wisconsin was a very sensitive issue to him, for his campaign.
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