Huffpost Politics

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

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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:

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