Huntsman campaign nearly broke as GOP campaign heats up
October 14th, 2011
04:36 PM ET
3 years ago

Huntsman campaign nearly broke as GOP campaign heats up

(CNN) - Jon Huntsman's presidential campaign is verging on broke after burning through more than $4 million since the former Utah governor entered the race for the Republican nomination in June.

The Huntsman campaign, which re-trenched last month by laying off staff and moving its national quarters to the must-win primary state of New Hampshire, finished the third fundraising quarter in September with just $327,000 in the bank and $890,000 in debt.

Since joining the race on June 21, Huntsman raised $2.26 million and contributed $2.25 million of his own money to the campaign for a total $4.51 million.

But a campaign official told CNN Friday that they have spent $4.18 million, leaving Huntsman with a paltry war chest as the GOP nomination fights heats up.

By contrast, Texas Gov. Rick Perry and former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney each have roughly $15 million in the bank.

Fundraising reports are due with the Federal Election Commission on Saturday, and the numbers will provide the first official glimpse into the Huntsman books.

Huntsman announced his campaign before the second quarter fundraising deadline on June 30, but federal election regulations did not require him to file a report because he joined the race just days before the deadline.

A source close to the campaign said in an email that "after a fast start fundraising, the projections were far too high. Fundraising dried up in the summer and that accounts for the campaign reining in spending."

But there are encouraging signs for Huntsman supporters.

After a rocky summer that saw the departures of a handful of senior campaign advisers, the operation has slimmed down and reduced spending by half since June.

And after an uptick in the polls in New Hampshire –Huntsman's beachhead in the GOP race– the campaign says they have seen a 240% increase in fundraising since late September.

"Since the end of the third quarter, Gov. Huntsman has unveiled a bold foreign policy plan, performed strongly in the debates and seen positive momentum in every New Hampshire poll," Huntsman spokesman Tim Miller told CNN. "Our campaign has re-organized to become more nimble with a focus on success in New Hampshire and our fundraising this first two weeks of this quarter has reflected that."

Huntsman remains mired between one and three percent in national polls, but his numbers are creeping up in New Hampshire.

Huntsman backers are hoping that television ads will help boost the campaign's profile both nationally and in the Granite State, the underwhelming fundraising numbers suggest the campaign far from prepared to buy any airtime.

That leaves the task of going on television to "Our Destiny PAC," a SuperPAC formed by Huntsman supporters to raise and spend unlimited funds on behalf of the candidate.

A source close to the SuperPAC had better news than the campaign, telling CNN that their fundraising total is "good" and that many of the Huntsman campaign donors have moved to the SuperPAC.

As for when the SuperPAC might actually go on television, the source called that "a tightly held" strategy.


Filed under: 2012 • Jon Huntsman
soundoff (14 Responses)
  1. Bill

    It's over. The endgame is at hand.

    October 14, 2011 04:39 pm at 4:39 pm |
  2. Wire Palladin, S. F.

    If Huntsman had been a little crazier, he could have millions, like Mittsy, Paul and Perry.

    October 14, 2011 04:40 pm at 4:40 pm |
  3. Kevin

    C'mon, just hang in there Huntsman. It's such a pity that the most reasonable and qualified candidate out there, has failed to get any traction. It's not too late to make a comeback, but if it's going to happen, it needs to start soon.

    Huntsman 2012!

    October 14, 2011 04:45 pm at 4:45 pm |
  4. kerry

    now there is a guy you want running our country. He had 4 million and spent 5 million. Business 101

    October 14, 2011 04:46 pm at 4:46 pm |
  5. Robert

    And we have, McCain, Part II: Broke, then Back!!! Just wait...

    October 14, 2011 04:54 pm at 4:54 pm |
  6. John Andersen

    Huntsman's "problem" is that he had too much integrity to make a meaningful impact in a republican primary.

    October 14, 2011 04:58 pm at 4:58 pm |
  7. Thad

    Damn already broke the fight for the white house just got started no wonder he's not going to nevada. He doesn't have the gas money.

    October 14, 2011 05:01 pm at 5:01 pm |
  8. DumbasRocks [R]s

    The same headline could be used for all the [R] candidates....they are all morally and intellectually broke.

    By the way, where have all the deluded dingbats on the right gone today?....you know, the ones that regularly post on here their mindless apologetic nonsense about the rightwing vacunauts that are posing as [R] presidential candidates. I guess when the wives show themselves to be every bit as stupid as their husbands, it just becomes too embarrassing for the neotards to prop up an empty, futile defense of rightwing malignancy.

    What a mindless bunch of socio-political [R]etards. Anybody even considering a vote for a [R] politician this election cycle, needs to check themselves into a clinic for some genetic counceling.

    October 14, 2011 05:11 pm at 5:11 pm |
  9. lou

    His family are ca-jillion-airs.. Can't he just fund his own campaign like Romney's been doing for the last 8 years?

    October 14, 2011 05:15 pm at 5:15 pm |
  10. Donkey Party

    So this is the real reason why Huntsman is "boycotting" the Nevada debates, he can't afford to get there!

    October 14, 2011 06:08 pm at 6:08 pm |
  11. A Repulbican

    Spending money down a hole, but hey if I had that much money, I would, well I would save it!!!!

    October 14, 2011 06:20 pm at 6:20 pm |
  12. tor5

    Dear Jon,
    I’m not sure what you’re up to, but I’m sure you realize you have no chance of being the Republican nominee, or even VP. Do you really think it will be that much different 4 years from now? Here’s some free advice: Become a Dem! You’re much closer to us anyway. And we won’t hate you because of your religion. Heck, you’d probably have a good shot at being the Dem nominee in 2016. Just admit it: You’re not a true Republican. You’re sane.

    October 14, 2011 06:48 pm at 6:48 pm |
  13. CaliforniaBC

    So much for the Republican voters showing even a smidgin of responsibility and intelligence. Good job ladies and gents...get rid of the moderate candidate who could actually compete in a general election. Now all ya got is a flip-flopper and a whole pile of crazy!

    Great choices!!

    October 14, 2011 07:23 pm at 7:23 pm |
  14. FRANK - LAS VEGAS

    He could always change his mind, come to Las Vegas with what's left of his campaign money and put it all on Black and let the wheel spin. Who know's he may win, problem solved.

    October 14, 2011 07:45 pm at 7:45 pm |