Romney Launching Bid in NH Next Week GOP front-runner making 2012 run official By Rob Quinn, Newser Staff Posted May 27, 2011 1:20 AM CDT 2 comments Comments Former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney announced the formation of an exploratory committee for a White House bid early last month. (AP Photo/Mary Ann Chastain) (Newser) – Mitt Romney is making his run for the White House official next week. The former Massachusetts governor—who is the GOP's front-runner in the latest Gallup poll—plans to formally announce his candidacy at a barbecue hosted by Republican stalwarts in New Hampshire next Thursday, the Union-Leader reports. Romney will be the first 2012 hopeful to make a formal announcement in New Hampshire, where a recent poll put him in first place with 32% of possible votes, compared with 9% for second-place Ron Paul. Romney, who dropped out of the 2008 race after coming in second to John McCain in the Super Tuesday primaries, "has the experience to create jobs and grow the economy, and he is the strongest Republican to defeat President Obama in 2012,” an aide says.