Perry to visit NH and SC while presidential candidates gather in Iowa

Texas Gov. Rick Perry (R) will meet Saturday with conservative activists in New Hampshire and South Carolina, while other Republican presidential candidates compete in Iowas highly anticipated straw poll.

Perry will gladhand in two of the other three crucial early primary states this weekend in preparation for his own bid for the GOP presidential nomination, which is looking increasingly likely.

Most of the other candidates will be in Ames, Iowa, where the state GOP will host its straw poll of voters to gauge their early preference in candidates to win next Februarys Iowa caucuses.

Perry will meet with conservative activists and bloggers at a long-planned engagement hosted by the influential blog RedState in Charleston, S.C.

But Perry added a second leg to his travels this weekend, planning to attend a house party Saturday evening in New Hampshire hosted by a state Republican lawmaker. Perry received the invitation to come to the Granite State at his National Day of Prayer rally this past weekend in Houston, according to the New Hampshire Union Leader, which first reported the details of Perrys visits.

The trip amounts to another step on Perrys slow but deliberate walk toward entering the presidential race. And with many of the other GOP candidates set to be in Ames (former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney and former Utah Gov. Jon Huntsman wont attend), going to South Carolina and New Hampshire gives Perry a chance to build support relatively uncontested while his electoral foes compete in Iowa.