CHEYENNE, Wyo. Don't forget Wyoming.
It's been overlooked in the hoopla surrounding Thursday's Iowa caucuses and next week's New Hampshire primary, but Wyoming Republicans will caucus today and choose delegates to the national convention in September.
Candidates have paid little attention to the state, though.
Mitt Romney, Fred Thompson, Duncan Hunter and Ron Paul have passed through since September. Mike Huckabee, Rudy Giuliani and John McCain have not.
"Yes, there have been some appearances by the candidates in this state that otherwise wouldn't have occurred this early in the process," said Jim King, who teaches political science at the University of Wyoming. "But candidates are where the media are in Iowa and New Hampshire."
So far, no candidate has announced plans to head west for the state GOP's county conventions today. An exception could be Hunter, who has been to several of the state's major cities and held out the possibility of a last-minute visit. His wife spent part of her childhood in Wheatland, in southeast Wyoming.
Whether anyone has an advantage is unknown. There has been no public polling, and those familiar with the results of the Republican precinct caucuses held last month said no clear candidate emerged when delegates to the county conventions were selected.
Wyoming's Republicans had hoped to draw attention by holding their caucuses a full month before most other states. But as states jockeyed to schedule their nominating contests earlier and earlier on the 2008 calendar, Wyoming unexpectedly found itself sandwiched between Iowa and New Hampshire.
Jan Larimer, Wyoming's Republican national committeewoman, said her area Teton County, in western Wyoming turned out several Romney and Paul supporters at the precinct caucuses. About one-fourth of the county convention delegates were chosen at the caucuses.
Larimer said other counties leaned toward other candidates, and she could not gauge whether anyone had statewide momentum.
"It's just an absolute mixed bag from county to county," she said.
There also have been relatively few endorsements by Wyoming's top Republicans. Former Gov. Jim Geringer has backed Mike Huckabee, while State Auditor Rita Meyer has said she supports Romney.
Larimer said fellow Republicans tend to like certain things about different candidates.
"They would like to take a little bit from three or four candidates and put them together to get the ideal candidate," she said.
Given state party rules, it's possible that some of the delegates chosen today may not be committed to a particular candidate, according to Larimer.
Wyoming has paid a price for scheduling the caucuses before Feb. 5 the date the national GOP chose as the earliest that states can choose national delegates. Wyoming, along with New Hampshire, Florida, South Carolina and Michigan, will lose half of its delegates to the national convention in September.
Wyoming Republicans have tried to keep Saturday's county conventions relevant by sending all 12 delegates chosen to the national convention. They will hold back all but two that were chosen at the state convention in May.
King said Wyoming has gained little clout because the media follows the candidates and vice versa, and Wyoming has few, if any, major media outlets.
"The Wyoming results will be noted in the press," he said. "But they're not going to carry any significant weight."