Haley Barbour’s inside game

Haley Barbour will travel to Nevada on Tuesday to meet with Gov. Brian Sandoval (R) and have lunch with a handful of state legislators, a visit that suggest the Mississippi governor will make a major play in the Silver State caucus in early 2012.

While Iowa, New Hampshire and South Carolina have received the lion’s share of attention from 2012 wannabes, Nevada is slated to be the third state to vote — on Feb. 18 — in the presidential primary process. In 2008, former Massachusetts governor Mitt Romney won the Nevada caucuses easily, with more than 50 percent of the vote in a still-crowded field; that result had many potential 2012 candidates shying from the state early on.

The Nevada trip is the latest in a very busy schedule for Barbour of late, as he prepares for a near-certain presidential announcement next month. Barbour spoke to the California Republican convention over the weekend, stopped in Iowa last week, will be back in the Hawkeye State later this week and will be in New Hampshire on March 27 and 28.