Former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney (R) will formally announce his presidential campaign next Thursday in New Hampshire.

Romney, who's formed an exploratory committee to seek the Republican presidential nomination, will formally enter the race at a barbecue in the Granite State, a centerpiece of his strategy to win the nomination.

His decision to announce in New Hampshire underscores the intense focus Romney's set to place on the state, and it contrasts with former Minnesota Gov. Tim Pawlenty's (R) choice of an Iowa backdrop to announce his own official entry into the race.

A poll released earlier this week showed Romney well ahead of his opponents for the GOP nomination in New Hampshire, and he's traveled more to that state than most others in his process toward entering the race.

The move could well mean that Romney will participate in a CNN debate scheduled for June 13 in New Hampshire, which may well prove the first real candidate debate of the cycle.