Archives: New Hampshire is Jon Huntsman’s last stand

Originally published in October 2011
Simon Nguyen

Jon Huntsman’s presidential campaign is in crisis mode. Conservatives won’t support him, while moderate Republicans are sticking with Mitt Romney. He is also facing financial troubles. According to MSNBC, the Huntsman’s campaign is $890,000 in debt despite a $2.25 million injection of his own money. Facing these bleak prospects, the former Utah governor appears to have targeted New Hampshire as his make-or-break state. In addition to moving his campaign headquarter to New Hampshire, Huntsman plans to campaign full time in the state.

What Jon Huntsman is trying to do in New Hampshire is to emulate the primary successes of Bill Clinton and John McCain. Clinton trailed badly in the 1992 democratic primary before a surprise second-place finish in New Hampshire carried him to winning the nomination. Likewise, John McCain’s New Hampshire victory helped him leapfrog past frontrunner Mitt Romney in the 2008 Republican primary. Huntsman is hoping history will repeat in 2012.

The former Utah governor is also eyeing another big prize. Huntsman’s experience in foreign affairs, having served as the U.S. ambassador to China, and his good standing with independents make him an attractive pick for the vice presidential nod. There are plenty of GOP candidates, including Herman Cain and Rick Perry, who will be looking for someone with Huntsman’s resume to compliment their lack of foreign policy experience. A strong showing in independent-rich New Hampshire will make Huntsman a leading candidate in the vice presidential sweepstakes.

Jon Huntsman’s biggest opponent in New Hampshire will be fellow Mormon Mitt Romney. Much like Huntsman, Romney has expended more time and resources in New Hampshire than in any other primary state. The former Massachusetts governor is banking on a big victory in the Granite State to solidify his frontrunner status.

The Real Clear Politics’ average of polls currently shows Romney holding a commanding lead in New Hampshire at 40 percent. Jon Huntsman is fourth with about 6 percent.

Although Huntsman will have a big hill to climb, the good news is that there is still plenty of time for him to make an impression with New Hampshire Republicans. Whether or not he will be this election’s version of the “comeback kid” remains to be seen.

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