(CNN) – If Jon Huntsman formally jumps into the race for the White House, he'll likely base his campaign headquarters in Orlando, Florida, a Republican source confirms to CNN.
The source points out that Huntsman's wife grew up in the Orlando area and still has family there, including her parents.
If Huntsman does announce his candidacy, as is widely expected, and does base his campaign in Orlando, it's another sign of the large role Florida will play in the GOP primary process and the general election.
Florida's is an important battleground state and the Republican party's presidential nominating convention will be held in Tampa. The on-going controversy over when the state hold's its presidential primary is another sign of Florida's importance in campaign politics.
"Florida is by far and away the single most important state for the GOP and its presidential contenders, both in the primary and in the general election. If the eventual Republican nominee fails to win Florida, then President Obama is all but guaranteed reelection," GOP strategist Ford O'Connell told CNN.
News of the Huntsman HQ likely being located in Orlando was first reported by Politico's Mike Allen.
Huntsman stepped down as U.S. ambassador to China at the end of last month. Since then the former Utah governor traveled to South Carolina to meet with Nikki Haley, the state's popular GOP governor, and with other Republican lawmakers, strategists and activists, and also gave a commencement speech at the University of South Carolina. The state holds the first southern contest in the primary and caucus calendar.
Thursday Huntsman kicks off a five day campaign swing through New Hampshire, which holds the first primary in the road to the White House.
And early next month Huntsman will attend a major social conservative conference early next month in the nation's capitol. Huntsman will address the Faith and Freedom Conference and Strategy Briefing on Friday June 3. Huntsman joins a large list of 2012 GOP White House candidates, and probable and possible hopefuls, speaking at the Faith and Freedom two-day gathering. They are former Massachusetts Gov. and 2008 Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney, Rep. Michele Bachmann of Minnesota, Rep. Ron Paul of Texas, and former Sen. Rick Santorum of Pennsylvania.
–CNN Senior Political Producer Kevin Bohn contributed to this story
–Follow Paul Steinhauser on Twitter: @psteinhausercnn
Huntsman is looking more and more like a formidable candidate. He's not playing to the lunatic conservative base and if there is anyone that can actually challenge the President on policy, it may be him. However, he did work for the President, so I dont know how well that will work for him a republican primary.
This guy is the only GOPer who is remotely sane...meaning he's doomed in the primary.
Orlando would be good. How about Fantasyland at Disney World?
Has anyone heard anything regarding his positions? I am still waiting to hear his presidential campaign political speeches. We know about Donald Trump politically after he opened his mouth (politically), we know, Mit, and Gingrich, etc.
Seems Huntsman is basing the location of his headquarters in Orlando due to the fact he will have a free place to live at the in-laws.
Hope that is not the same logic he would use should he ever see the inside of the Oval Office.
Huntsman is politically savvy. He has no chance in his native California so Florida makes more sense. He doesn't say how his being Mormon will play in a fundamentalist evangelical state. Then he'll need to put a credible spin on how he was on the Obama team as ambassador to China before he was not on the Obama team. As a former rock band high school drop-out son of a billionaire, he doesn't quite have the hard-luck upbringing to rival Obama's. Let's see if he handles his baggage better than the other GOP hopefuls.
"Seems Huntsman is basing the location of his headquarters in Orlando due to the fact he will have a free place to live at the in-laws."
Might be why John took that Ambassador to China job as well - free publicity in China for the Huntsman Chemical Corporation, a billion dollar corporation. The Huntsman Corporation, founded by his father, and now run by his brother, is posting job opportunities all over the globe, including, interesting enough, China. Quite a boost for the Huntsman Corporation to now able to boast that a member of the Huntsman family was also a U.S. Ambassador to China as it continues to post job opportunities in China.
IF Huntsman is able to win the GOP nomination he might give President Obama a run for his money in the general election. That is one mother of a huge IF, however.