Salem, New Hampshire (CNN) - The "dog days" of summer campaigning are over and the real race begins this Labor Day, said presidential candidate Jon Huntsman Monday.
The former Utah governor kicked off his fall campaign season in New Hampshire and will return to the state Sept. 15 for several days of events, according to the campaign.
Though he is struggling in national polls, Huntsman told reporters outside a Salem/Windham GOP picnic he will set a frenetic schedule of campaigning going into fall and sees himself well-positioned to surge ahead in the first-in-the-nation primary state.
"We are now staring down some very important fall months. And I like our position," he said. "I like the ground work that we have set. I like the grass-roots interest that is being expressed in our campaign, and I think that's going to translate into real support."
The former ambassador to China, who entered the race in late June, just completed a six-day swing through New Hampshire looking more at ease and aggressive than in past visits.
"I don't want anyone leaving this gathering here without signing onto my team," he told an audience at the Salem/Windham picnic.
Then Huntsman declared he couldn't see everyone in the room, so he climbed up on a picnic table and finished his speech from on high.
The candidate has enjoyed some increased buzz, including from the editorial board of the Wall Street Journal, since unveiling his jobs plan in Hudson, New Hampshire last week.