5:46pm

Tue June 14, 2011
It's All Politics

Jon Huntsman To Officially Launch White House Bid Next Week

So Jon Huntsman Jr. is finally going to make it official next week after running something of a shadow presidential campaign since quitting the Obama Administration as U.S. ambassador to China.

The 51-year old former Utah governor said Tuesday he will announce his run for the 2012 GOP presidential nomination next week at Liberty State Park in New Jersey which will provide him with a fetching backdrop, the Statue of Liberty in all her mute majesty.

The statue seemed to work like a giant, oxidized charm for then-newly minted GOP presidential nominee Ronald Reagan who spoke near the statue in September 1980 soon after winning his party's nomination.

Of course, Lady Liberty didn't seem to do much for another Republican White House aspirant, then-Calif Gov. Pete Wilson, who used it as a backdrop in 1996.

Huntsman's official entry will expand an already large field (seven candidates took part in Monday's New Hampshire debate.)

It wouldn't matter so much if he were a household name but he's not. In a recent Gallup survey, Huntsman had lower recognition than Herman Cain, the former Godfather's Pizza executive. The only contender for the GOP nomination he beat was Gary Johnson (who?), the former New Mexico governor.

However, the field is still seen as somewhat unsettled, even though Johnson's fellow Mormon Mitt Romney has a strong lead in a recent USA Today/Gallup poll.

And as I wrote in an earlier post, Huntsman has apparently been impressing people as he travels some of the early primary states. With Tim Pawlenty, the former Minnesota government, damaging his challenge to Romney because of his poor debate performance, there may be an opening for Huntsman.

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