Salt Lake City, Utah (CNN) - Former Utah Gov. Jon Huntsman has been convening a series of private meetings with Republican governors in Salt Lake City as he seeks to build support for his presidential bid.
Thirty-two of the nation’s governors are in the Utah capital this weekend for the annual meeting of the National Governors Association, including several prominent Republicans whose endorsements are being sought by the field of presidential hopefuls.
Among the governors Huntsman met with on Saturday was Terry Branstad of Iowa, a state that Huntsman is essentially ignoring as he maps out his nomination strategy.
The sit-down came at Branstad’s request, according to a source familiar with the meeting.
Branstad inquired about China, where Huntsman served as U.S. ambassador until April, but the topic of the Iowa politics was also on the table.
Huntsman left open the possibility of campaigning in Iowa at some point before the caucuses, he told reporters at a Harley-Davidson store in Salt Lake before taking a group motorcycle ride organized by his campaign.
“We had a great meeting,” Huntsman said. “He spoke his mind. I spoke my mind. And I told him, of course in politics you never want to close out your options.”
Huntsman also met with Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker, New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie, Utah Gov. Gary Herbert and Tennessee Gov. Bill Haslam. He said his meeting with Christie was “excellent.”
After talking with the media, Huntsman donned black leather gloves, hopped on a motorcycle and led the pack of more than 50 bikers on a ride around Salt Lake City that culminated in a rally with supporters wearing red and black Huntsman campaign gear.
A noted motocross and extreme sports enthusiast, Huntsman stopped to give an interview to Johnny Riche, the host of an “action sports” talk show in Salt Lake City.
Huntsman rolled up his white shirtsleeves and flashed a “hang loose” sign at the camera, telling Riche that the motorcycle ride was “outstanding” and that “the only thing missing was Travis Pastrana,” the stunt biker and X Games legend.
“Everybody watching who cares about two-wheel sports, we brought the X Games here, we brought the Super Motor here, we are making two-wheel sports come to life, just remember that,” Huntsman said.