If this story is accurate, it could pose serious problems for Mitt Romney. I don't believe Huntsman to be a serious contender for the nomination. However, as a former popular Governor of the state with the largest Mormon population, he could certainly make things difficult for Romney in Utah, Nevada, New Mexico, Colorado, Arizona, Idaho, Montana, Wyoming, Oregon, and Washington - all Western states with significant Mormon populations.
Now, it appears, the ambassador is ready to make some noise of his own. Sitting in the echo-y living room of his new Washington home, Huntsman, a tall, lean man with silver hair and impeccable posture, pauses only briefly when faced with the question of presidential aspirations. “You know, I’m really focused on what we’re doing in our current position,” he says. “But we won’t do this forever, and I think we may have one final run left in our bones.” Asked whether he is prepared to rule out a run in 2012 (since it would require him to campaign against his current boss), he declines to comment.Read the rest of the article HERE
The winking response—about as close to a hat-in-ring announcement as you’ll get from a sitting member of the incumbent’s administration—could just be a hollow cry for attention. But sources close to Huntsman (who requested anonymity to speak freely without his permission) say that during his December trip to the U.S., he met with several former political advisers in Washington and Salt Lake City to discuss a potential campaign. “I’m not saying he’s running,” says one supporter who has worked with him in the past. “But we’re a fire squad; if he says the word, we can get things going fast.” What’s more, Huntsman tells NEWSWEEK that when he accepted the ambassadorial appointment, he promised his family they would “come up for air” sometime in 2010 to decide how much longer they would stay in Beijing. “I’m not announcing anything at all,” he says. But he sure seems to be hinting.
...and as a Mormon with ties to Utah, he would face tough competition from likely GOP candidate Mitt Romney as he milks their overlapping networks for donors and campaign talent. But neither obstacle is insurmountable. A Republican-primary candidate could do worse than publicly slighting the Obama White House. And Huntsman wouldn’t have much trouble financing the first leg of a presidential campaign on his own: his father, whose company invented the “clamshell” container for McDonald’s to package its Big Macs, is a billionaire.
Any Utah residents care to weigh in? If Huntsman throws his hat into the ring, where do you stand? Is there room for two Mormon candidates in the race?
Update: FYI: This may come as a surprise to some. Huntsman endorsed McCain over Romney.