Leading GOP presidential contender Mitt Romney is in Southern California Wednesday, but the man many Republicans hope will be their nominee may overshadow him.
Texas Gov. Rick Perry is also reportedly in California for another series of meetings with potential donors. Perry, 61, has yet to announce he's a candidate for the Republican nomination, but many political analysts say he'll probably run.
This is Romney's second trip to California in as many weeks for private meetings at mostly undisclosed locations.
Romney's scheduled a news conference and rally at a struggling North Hollywood shopping mall. He hopes the event will illustrate what he calls President Obama's failed economic policies.
L.A. City Councilman Paul Krekorian, a Democrat who represents the area, plans to meet him at the mall to refute Romney's bleak picture. In a news release, Krekorian said the city's making progress after years of neglect.
But the eyes of many Southern California Republicans are on Perry.
Last week, he met with key GOP leaders in Orange County, including the Republican National committeeman from California, Shawn Steele. Steele remains officially neutral in the race.
Meanwhile, an independent fundraising group set up to support any Perry run has its headquarters in San Diego. Americans for Perry reportedly raised $400,000 within a few weeks, not bad for a someone who has yet to declare his candidacy.
Former state GOP leader Mike Schroeder — Romney's political director in California four years ago — is closely watching Perry's visit.
This time, Schroeder says, he'll likely go with Perry if the Texan throws his hat into the ring.