Jon Huntsman in the Hunt in NH
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(CONCORD) As a dozen supporters chanted “Join the Hunt”, Jon Huntsman and his wife Mary Kay walked into the New Hampshire Secretary of State’s Office this afternoon to file for President in the First in the Nation Primary. The former Utah Governor is the first major Republican to sign his paperwork in person this year, as the filing period for New Hampshire’s GOP Primary opened today. Long-shot candidate Fred Karger filed his paperwork this morning, and Texas Congressman Ron Paul and Andy Martin sent their papers in by mail.Huntsman, facing lackluster fundraising and campaign cost cutting, has focused on a New Hampshire strategy to capture the GOP nomination. He has been sharply critical of Governor Mitt Romney’s decision in campaign in Nevada following a decision by Silver State Republicans to schedule their caucus in January. That could force Secretary of State Bill Gardner to slate New Hampshire’s Primary as early as December.
Huntsman says New Hampshire’s tradition of retail politics is important for the country, and has pledged to boycott the Nevada caucuses and tomorrow’s Republican debate.
“This is a state where conventional wisdom is always upended by candidates with good ideas and a vision for this country; a state where citizens take their First in the Nation responsibility very seriously,” Huntsman stated to reporters after signing his request to be placed on the New Hampshire ballot.
“It would be a good thing for those candidates who have not embraced the boycott to do so, because by not doing that would be suggesting otherwise; that they do not believe that the First in the Nation state is worth protecting and defending,” Huntsman continued. “I think that this is such a uniquely American part of our election cycle, here in New Hampshire. It plays such a critically important role in allowing average citizens to get to know the candidates. It is good for the people of New Hampshire, and it is good therefore for the people of the United States.”
Huntsman has been improving in recent New Hampshire polls, but still lags far behind Romney and the recently surging Herman Cain, and is carrying nearly $900,000 in campaign debt.. When asked how his campaign will compete with President Obama’s war-chest, Huntsman responds “By doing well in New Hampshire.”
“You do well here in New Hampshire, you move up in the polls, your fundraising numbers will pick up,” Huntsman added.
But Huntsman wouldn’t set a target to define success in the First in the Nation Primary.
“As soon as I see a big smile on Mary Kay’s face, I’ll know we’re going well,” Huntsman concluded.
The filing period for New Hampshire’s Presidential Primary is open through October 28th. The Union Leader’s John DiStaso reports that Vice-President Joe Biden is expected in Concord on Thursday to file on behalf of the Obama re-election campaign.
Jon Huntsman files for President in New Hampshire
Jon Huntsman speaks to reporters following filing in NH