Huntsman: Florida will decide the GOP nominee
September 11th, 2011
03:44 PM ET
8 years ago

Huntsman: Florida will decide the GOP nominee

Tampa, Florida (CNN) – Republican presidential candidate Jon Huntsman said Sunday that winning Florida is “critically important” to his campaign, saying the early primary state will decide the GOP nominee for president.

“Somewhere between Orlando and Tampa, the great I-4 corridor, there’s gonna be a lot of important campaigning, a lot of connecting with the people of Florida, and ultimately I believe the decision made that will determine the next nominee of the Republican Party, and I do believe the next president of the Unite States,” Huntsman told reporters after a 9/11 memorial ceremony at the Tampa Firefighters’ Museum.

On Monday, Sept. 12th, CNN will broadcast the "Tea Party Republican Debate," live from Tampa, Florida at 8 p.m. ET. Follow all the issues and campaign news leading up to the debate on and @cnnpolitics on Twitter.

Huntsman chose Orlando for his presidential campaign headquarters, partly - he has said - because his wife Mary Kaye is from the area, and partly because winning state’s primary is crucial to his campaign strategy.

Huntsman also said he is looking forward to the CNN/Tea Party Express presidential debate Monday in Tampa, and said he intends to focus on the economy and job creation.

“These are always good opportunities to have a conversation with the American people, to talk about the issues that really do matter,” Huntsman said.

“There’s a great human tragedy out there in our country with 14 million unemployed and millions and millions who are so dispirited they’ve given up looking.”

The former governor and ambassador also reflected on the 10th anniversary of 9/11, recounting that as U.S. trade ambassador to Vietnam, he was separated from his family and “trying to make sense of it 10,000 miles away.”

But Huntsman said the somber anniversary is also an opportunity “to be reminded what is great about this country.”

“This country is better and stronger because we’ve pulled together. We have to remember that theme of unity as well because when this nation pulls together as it did 10 years ago in the aftermath of 9/11, no one can stop us,” Huntsman said.

Filed under: 2012 • CNN/Tea Party Republican Debate • Florida • Jon Huntsman
soundoff (40 Responses)
  1. MrManhattan

    They're still allowed to hold elections in Florida? We really have to do something about that.

    September 11, 2011 08:02 pm at 8:02 pm |
  2. Ann

    This just shows how much Huntsman understands politics. Iowa, and New Hampshire, have always and will always decide who the nominees will be.

    September 11, 2011 08:04 pm at 8:04 pm |
  3. Italian Nonno

    Huntsman makes a lot of sense, is an intelligent person, much too sane, and filthy rich.. but that's not what the Republicans are looking for,.. the Koch Bros, and all the other lobbyists, that call the shots for the right, want a a puppet, dim witted individual, that they can manipulate and one that can be easily swayed to carry out the corporate agenda,.. enter Rick Perry, Michele Bachmann, Sarah Palin, and the likes.

    September 11, 2011 08:18 pm at 8:18 pm |
  4. S.B. Stein E.B. NJ

    I dont' think the tea people won't like him because he is sensible. He understands that you need to work with people and listen to science. Ideology can't be the only thing someone focuses on; facts must be looked at and reviewed so that the best policy can be put forth.

    September 11, 2011 08:28 pm at 8:28 pm |
  5. Tony in Maine

    I understand why Huntsman thinks the Republicans will win in 2012, to say otherwise would be political suicide. One wonders what he would say were he honest about his thoughts. Huntsman is the most rational of the bunch which, given the bunch, is faint praise, so i have to wonder if he really believes a majority of Americans are ready to climb in the wayback machine and revisit the early 19th century.

    September 11, 2011 08:50 pm at 8:50 pm |
  6. marty

    How can any Republican be believed when they promise so much and deliver so little? They take pledges to 'not raise taxes' under any circumstance, they block any attempt by this administration to spur the economy, they cry 'failure' before a program is implemented, and they have shown the ugliest disrespect towards our president from Joe 'you lie' Wilson to the current. 'my first priority is to make Obama a one term president' Mitch McConnell. Ugly, distasteful ,discredited. Jon Huntsman seems reasonable but he is a party is not one of the party's virtues.

    September 11, 2011 08:54 pm at 8:54 pm |
  7. Terry

    At the end of the day, we have not yet looked upon the GOP Candidate for POTUS, or I hope we are not looking at the GOP Candidate. All I see are losers, and that makes my stomach ache.

    September 11, 2011 09:14 pm at 9:14 pm |
  8. Bayousara

    If Floridians are going for the Tea Baggers and Republican Party, apparently they are all wealthy and can afford to pay their medical bills out of pocket and don't need Medicare. OR they have been brainwashed by the Baggers and Republicans.

    September 11, 2011 09:16 pm at 9:16 pm |
  9. Franco, FL

    I like this guy, but I'm not gonna vote for any republicans, since they have done nothing, or just stand on way with filibusters. They don't deserve another chance

    September 11, 2011 09:17 pm at 9:17 pm |
  10. Cyndie

    I think we Floridians have proven over the last 12 years that we as a collective are just too stupid to be trusted to make ANY decisions. As evidence, I give you Rick Scott. No seriously, I'm giving him to you. Take him, please.

    September 11, 2011 09:56 pm at 9:56 pm |
  11. proudmemberofglobalzero

    I will work my hardest to make sure my state goes for the current President in 2012. People here have NOT been paying attention but they are now. Republicans will never win this state. Bill Nelson is solid and President Obama will be too. Ask the Cuban population in Miami...conservative yes, crazy....not so much of late.

    September 11, 2011 10:35 pm at 10:35 pm |
  12. oldcoaldog

    Let's all hope that some of the voters in Florida have learned how to read a ballot this time.

    September 11, 2011 10:54 pm at 10:54 pm |
  13. CBR

    It is very interesting as the country observes the 10th anniversary of the 9-11 attack, members of this political party were campaigning for President. One very clear reason why those who cannot observe important dates in our history do not deserve to be nominated or elected. For months this party has been claiming their candidates are more patriotic and love America more. Have another bedtime story to tell.

    Pardon me for not wanting to watch this debate or another.

    A very moderate voter..

    September 11, 2011 11:16 pm at 11:16 pm |
  14. kat

    Sorry Huntsman, too many ties to the current administration

    September 12, 2011 01:51 am at 1:51 am |

    This guy will be ignored at the teabagger debate while Rick Bush cuts his own windpipe talking about getting rid of Social Security. Snooki Palin will soon swoop down upon Bachmann's dead campaign like a vulture as wingnut heads explode nationwide.

    September 12, 2011 05:56 am at 5:56 am |
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