Washington (CNN) – Call it another sign that U.S. Ambassador to China Jon Huntsman may be gearing up for a bid for the Republican presidential nomination.
CNN has confirmed that Horizon PAC, which is serving as a presidential campaign-in-waiting for the former two-term Utah governor, has hired Whit Ayres, a leading GOP pollster.
In a statement, Ayres said that he thinks "the Republican nominating contest is more wide open than at any time in our lifetimes. Republican primary voters appear hungry for a fresh face and a new conservative voice. I hope Governor Huntsman will be that voice."
News of Ayres hire was first reported by Chris Cillizza of the Washington Post.
Ayres joins Republican strategist John Weaver and media consultant Fred Davis, as well as growing staff in such early primary states as New Hampshire and South Carolina, as part of the political action committee's staff.
Huntsman has said he will decide on a presidential bid later this spring, after he steps down as ambassador and returns from China. He is already scheduled to visit both South Carolina and New Hampshire next month.