(CNN) – He won't be competing in a crucial straw poll in Ames, Iowa next month, but Mitt Romney says he'll be spending more time in the state which holds the first contest in the presidential primary and caucus calendar.
"My wife and I will be campaigning in Iowa," Romney said Monday night in a tele-town hall with nearly 10,000 Iowa Republicans, "You won't be seeing too little of us."
The former Massachusetts governor, who's making his second bid for the GOP presidential nomination, promised to come to the Iowa State Fair next month. Romney has also agreed to attend a presidential debate in Ames, Iowa scheduled for August 11.
According to a report from the Des Moines Register and confirmed by Romney officials, the campaign called tens of thousands of Iowa Republicans' homes Monday night, with 9,820 people opting to listen into the tele-town hall for some or all of the half an hour long call.
During the conversation, Romney was asked why he isn't participating in the Ames straw poll. Romney answered, as he has in the past, that he's opting out of all straw polls, including ones in Florida, Michigan and elsewhere.
"We said, you know, resources, money, is hard to come by. We want to use the money we have to win the caucuses, to win the primaries, to win the conventions, to be able to get delegates and become the nominee," added Romney, who's considered the front-runner at this point in the race for the GOP nomination.
Romney won the straw poll four years ago, but the headlines went to former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee, who had a surprising second place finish. Despite spending a lot of time and money in Iowa, Romney came in second to Huckabee in the caucuses the following January.
While he's made at least ten campaign visits this year to New Hampshire, the state that holds the first primary in the race for the White House, Romney has visited Iowa only once, in May.
But he indicated he may hold another tele-town hall, saying that "I'll look forward to doing this again."
The four most recent polls of likely GOP presidential caucus goers in Iowa indicate that Romney and Rep. Michele Bachmann of neighboring Minnesota are basically neck and neck for the top spot.
– CNN Deputy Political Director Paul Steinhauser contributed to this report.
- Follow Paul Steinhauser on Twitter: @PsteinhauserCNN