Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney is returning to Iowa Monday to campaign in territory he captured during his bid for the GOP nomination four years ago.

Aides say the former Massachusetts governor plans to campaign in Dubuque and Scott counties, along a swath of eastern Iowa he carried in his second-place finish in the 2008 caucuses.

Romney has kept a low profile in Iowa this year, but has recently added staff and spoken of winning the leadoff nominating contest set for Jan. 3.

He campaigned in western Iowa in October. But he has declined recent invitations to appear in Iowa with his rivals.

Romney has finished near the top in Iowa polls this year, including Sunday's Des Moines Register poll, which showed him narrowly trailing businessman Herman Cain.