Washington (CNN) - His advisers insist there is no change in campaign strategy, but former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney will return to Iowa this fall as Texas Gov. Rick Perry threatens to overwhelm his GOP opponents in the first-in-the-nation caucus state.
"There has been no change in our strategy," said Romney spokeswoman Andrea Saul. "Mitt Romney will campaign in Iowa enough to show that he is a conservative businessman who can defeat President Obama, put people back to work, and turn around the economy."
Romney's Communications Director Gail Gitcho said the same: "There is no change. He will campaign in Iowa this fall."
So did Romney's top Iowa adviser David Kochel, who emailed: "No change in strategy."
Their denials came on the heels of a Washington Post story Wednesday that said the Romney campaign has "reversed" its Iowa strategy and plans to step up its efforts in the state in the coming weeks in order to blunt Perry's momentum there.
Romney officials said the candidate will make a return appearance in the state soon but offered no details.
Perry, meanwhile, just concluded a two-day swing through western Iowa and has opened up a solid lead in the Hawkeye State since joining the race in August - roughly six points ahead of his nearest rival there, Minnesota Rep. Michele Bachmann, according to an average of state polls by RealClearPolitics.com.
A blowout win in the caucuses next year might give Perry a major burst of momentum that could swamp his rivals and carry him through other key nominating states.
Romney has largely focused his efforts this cycle on the primary state of New Hampshire, which follows Iowa in the nominating process.
The Romney campaign said Perry's rise to the top of the polls has nothing to do with any plans to return to Iowa.
Romney has never ruled out competing in Iowa, but has made just two visits to the state this year and skipped the closely watched Ames Straw Poll in August after winning the contest in 2007 during his last presidential campaign.
He walked a fine line earlier this year when pressed on how committed he is to competing in a state that essentially derailed his campaign in 2008, when he came up short to former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee after staking his campaign on a win in the caucuses.
"We are going to do what we think is best calculated for me to become the nominee and for me to win the White House," Romney said at a Des Moines forum in May when asked about his Iowa strategy.
"I will be here plenty and you will get to know what I stand for," he added.
Yet some of Romney's Iowa supporters from 2008 have griped for months that the candidate has not been there enough.
Romney has a core base of support in Iowa left over from his last campaign, said Doug Gross, a Des Moines attorney who chaired Romney's Iowa effort in 2008.
But without precious Romney face-time, he said, those backers have started to look at other candidates.
Gross said Iowa remains "fertile ground" for Romney because establishment-friendly Republicans are still unsure about the combative and socially conservative rhetoric they hear from Perry and Bachmann.
Gross said he expects the candidate to show himself in Iowa sometime after October 1, and said Romney should spend as much time in Iowa as he did in 2008.
"I would like to have seen him out here earlier because Perry has already taken some of his votes out here," Gross told CNN. "If he wants to be serious about Iowa, he needs to get out here."