In Pennsylvania, it's the war of the wives.
A week after Second Lady Jill Biden blazed through the state's eastern half on a fundraising trip, first-lady hopeful Ann Romney is set to stop in Altoona for a Monday luncheon with local Republican contributors.
Romney's fundraising visit at the Blair County Convention Center - planned for weeks but not revealed to the public until Wednesday - comes as polls show a nearly insurmountable Pennsylvania lead for President Barack Obama, with reports indicating some Romney staffers have been transferred to other states.
"I know that she was expected to come for the last few weeks," said state Sen. John H. Eichelberger Jr., R-Blair, who received an invitation but said he'll be in session Monday.
Campaign officials didn't reply to emails seeking comment, but Altoona business owner and Republican contributor Lee Hite said he'd been told about the event in advance. Michael A. Fiore, of Leonard S. Fiore Inc. Contractors, reportedly helped to arrange Romney's visit.
Republican Party figures have yet to reveal details about the noon luncheon. Members of the press will be kept at a distance following a campaign request, a convention center employee said.
"She's coming in Monday. ... And that's about all I can say," Blair County Republican Party Chairman A.C. Stickel said.
Eichelberger said high security and reduced transparency are common in fundraisers, citing Mitt Romney's surreptitiously filmed comments about a government-dependent "47 percent" at a Boca Raton, Fla., event in May as a risk.
Ann Romney is set to visit other Pennsylvania cities, including Harrisburg, next week, though the extent of her trip isn't yet clear. The Romney campaign website lists an "Altoona Luncheon with Ann," but no further description.
It may surprise some that the Romney campaign would continue investing energy in Pennsylvania, once considered a swing state but now solidly pro-Obama. But state Republicans hope to use the presidential race's attention to develop support for more contentious campaigns, like Tom Smith's run for a U.S. Senate seat, Eichelberger said.
"They're pushing them [the Romney campaign] to come in and do a little more here," he said.
Ann Romney's visit follows a seven-city fundraising tour by Vice President Joe Biden's wife, Jill, who covered the area between Harrisburg, Scranton and Philadelphia earlier this week.
Such high-speed fundraising trips can be exhausting, with candidates and their relatives bouncing among several cities in a day, Eichelberger said.
"These people just talk all day, everywhere they go," he said. "I don't know how they don't get hoarse."
Mirror Staff Writer Ryan Brown is at 946-7457.