Washington (CNN) - Jon Huntsman's official entry into the race for the White House won't happen before the June 13 GOP presidential debate in New Hampshire, but it could happen soon after the debate.
Speaking to reporters Friday after addressing the Faith and Freedom Coalition conference in the nation's capital, the former Utah governor and U.S. ambassador to China said he hopes to have an announcement "very soon. We've discussed this over the past week as a family, and we hope there will be more on that in the next week or two."
Huntsman will not be attending the CNN/WMUR/New Hampshire Union Leader debate, which is being held on the campus of St. Anselm College.
"Governor Huntsman will be spending the next few weeks continuing the due diligence process in line with the very short decision-making timetable he has laid out. He will not be participating in any debates until after that process is over and he formally announces his intentions. That announcement will not come before the June 13th debate," said Paul Collins, Huntsman's chief consultant in New Hampshire, late last month.
Huntsman didn't show his cards regarding where he will announce his candidacy for the GOP nomination, saying "we'll roll that out at an appropriate time and place, just to hold you in a little bit of suspense."
But he did acknowledge previous reports that his campaign headquarters will be based in Florida, saying "we will be moving, once we're announced, towards a campaign structure in Florida and specifically in Orlando. That is the operating plan at this point."
Asked if there's already an apparatus set up in Florida, he said "I do. I have a wife from Orlando."
Huntsman stepped down as U.S. ambassador to China at the end of April. Since then he traveled to the crucial early primary voting states of New Hampshire and South Carolina, and has begun to build up staff in the two states. Huntsman's aides see his route to winning the Republican nomination starting with strong finishes in New Hampshire and South Carolina, two states where independents are able to vote in GOP primaries.
New Hampshire holds the first primary in the primary and caucus calendar, and South Carolina is the first southern state to vote.
The decision to compete in socially conservative South Carolina might seem unusual for Huntsman given his past support for same-sex civil unions and questions about his Mormon faith, but the Huntsman team is confident that a fractured and wide-open GOP field could leave the door open for a fresh-faced candidate with foreign policy experience.
Huntsman said that part of his address to the Faith and Freedom conference was to "introduce myself and my family" to the gathering of influential social conservative activists.
- CNN's Peter Hamby and Peter Morris contributed to this report.
- Follow Paul Steinhauser on Twitter: @PsteinhauserCNN
– On Monday, June 13, CNN will host the first New Hampshire Republican Presidential Debate, live from Manchester, NH at 8 p.m. ET. Follow all the issues and campaign news leading up to the debate on CNNPolitics.com and @cnnpolitics on Twitter.
Should Huntsman survive the Republican Inquisition (GOP Primaries), he will have a hard time with the middle class, ethinic groups, Independents, and Democrats because of the current economy. His overseas businiess interests will be percieved as part of the problem, not the solution. Huntsman would become the poster child for bad conservative economic policies.
This guy was for a individual mandate for healthcare before he was against it also.....
Food for thought:
Every GOTP candidate in the field is currently unemployed with one exception, Rep. Ron Paul who has become a perennial candidate. All of the potential names of people who have jobs, have thus far declined to join the filed. Smart money says don't run this year because you must become a beast to win the nomination, defining your reputation as an extremist beast for the rest of your career. Amb. Huntsman has quit a good job to join the field. A very high risk gamble, from which there is no return. There is no career Plan-B once you join the field. Notice how all of the announced candidates have no other future, hence they are unemployed.
He's in the same cult at Romney and idolizes a human (Joseph Smith).
NO NO NO NO NO -– HELL NO. There's already too much of the "Legislate Morals" going on.
Government big enough to carefully scrutinize ever woman's uterus is too big.
Advice to Jon Huntsman makes your announcement in Alaska because Sarah Palin wont follow you there she is unpopular there now
Please, no more RINOs. Just toddle off and switch parties to show your true colors. Oh, was that racist? Yes, I know Huntsman is caucasoid; while 'the one' is negroid and caucasoid, but recognizes only the negroid portion; consequently, any criticism of anyone in 'the one's' regime is taken as being racist.
huntsman is the most dangerous canidate for obama.... unless its mr. unemployment......
Yet another GOP empty suit. Bring it. BTW American not ready for another Mormon cultist with their magic underpants and anti-Christian pan determinism.
it's really sad that they all need to pander to the Faith and Freedom coalition....good luck with that! you're not an evangelical!
Oh, another Billionaire running for President!
He is about as interesting as a bag of saw dust...
Looks like Romney with a hair cut.
Four and The Door wrote:
And Obama's answer? Raise taxes.
Thank you Rudy for putting FATD in his place!! I could not comment earlier because I was at work but you are right!! He "bragged" months ago on how the JOBS were coming back and we have the Repubs to THANK and now he did a FLIP-FLOP until he DROPPED on his/her head and wants to now blame President Obama...
Huntsmans just might NOT run and is now only getting a FEEL for 2016. I'd be surprise if he does run!
Huntsman is the GOBPbagger's latest "Great White Dope." To the rest of us, though, he's just another typical GOBP "snake in a suit." He may try to talk like a moderate, but he's a trust fund kid whose family has a ginormous chemical company. So when it comes time to chose between poor and working Americans and the environment, versus deregulation and screwing the poor and middle class, I think we all know right where Mr. "Hunts Man" will go.