Bettendorf, Iowa (CNN) - South Carolina voters received a lengthy fundraising plea from former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney over the weekend, a sign that the Republican presidential candidate is ever-so-slightly upping his efforts in the first southern primary state.
The four-page mail piece, penned under Romney's name and provided to CNN by a Republican in Columbia who received it on Monday, says that "America is desperate for strong focused, fiscally responsible leadership."
"Our economy is struggling," reads the letter, the first mailing from the Romney campaign to hit the state. "And South Carolina has been hit particularly hard by the recession."
"I am humbled by the support I am receiving from all over the country, but in order to run a successful national campaign, I will need to build a strong grassroots campaign team in South Carolina," the mailing reads.
The mailing touches on Romney's record as government of Massachusetts and on the "moral tragedy" of the economy under President Barack Obama, particularly an unemployment rate over 9%.
"Liberals should be ashamed that they and their policies have failed these good and decent Americans!," the letter blares.
Romney made just his sixth campaign visit to the state on Tuesday and has done nothing until now in the way of paid advertising or mail.
But even without a large organizational presence in the state, no candidate has so far emerged as a viable mainstream alternative to Romney, leading Palmetto State GOP insiders to see an opening for Romney in the state - even though the conservative bastion has long been suspicious of him and his record in Massachusetts.