Romney returning to New Hampshire to mark ‘semiofficial end’ of GOP primary

Five states will hold primaries in the race for the Republican nomination Tuesday, including Pennsylvania and New York, but Mitt Romney won't be spending his election night in any one of them.

Instead, the presumptive Republican nominee will return to New Hampshire, the state that gave him his first clear victory in his bid for the GOP nomination. The former Massachusetts governor will appear at a Tuesday night event in Manchester that his campaign has billed as "A Better America Begins Tonight."

Romney is expected to use the event as a way to shift his message to the general election matchup against President Barack Obama, even though technically he still won't have amassed the 1,144 delegates needed to officially clinch the Republican nomination.

With Rick Santorum out of the race, Romney is expected to sweep all five primaries tomorrow, winning nearly 300 delegates. And while Newt Gingrich and Ron Paul have given no signs they plan to exit the GOP race, Romney's aides view the primary race as all but officially over.

"Tuesday will mark the semiofficial end of the primary campaign," a Romney aide, who declined to be named discussing the details of the event, told Yahoo News.

Noting that Romney kicked off his 2012 bid in the state last year, the aide said the "campaign will come full circle" in New Hampshire, which also happens to be a key swing state this fall.

A recent Dartmouth College poll of likely voters in the state found Romney statistically tied with Obama heading into the general election, 44 percent to 42 percent. (The poll's margin of error was plus or minus 4.9 percent.)

But Romney isn't ignoring Tuesday's primary states. On Monday, he'll spend the full day campaigning in Pennsylvania, making stops near Pittsburgh and Philadelphia. This afternoon, he's scheduled to appear at a town hall alongside Florida Sen. Marco Rubio, who has been mentioned frequently as a possible vice presidential running mate.

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