Huntsman zinged over campaign strategy
June 6th, 2011
11:41 AM ET
11 years ago

Huntsman zinged over campaign strategy

(CNN) - A top Iowa Republican said potential presidential candidate Jon Huntsman is "not ready for the big dance" if he stands by his decision not to compete in the 2012 Iowa caucuses should he run for president.

Iowa Secretary of State Matt Schultz, a fellow Mormon, said Huntsman's comments are a sign the former Utah governor needs "a lesson in Iowa politics."

"Iowa is a bellwether state. We care about families, our faith and our freedom," Schultz said in a statement Monday. "We are not single-issue voters … Hopefully Mr. Huntsman will change his mind and come to Iowa and explain how he plans on fixing the problems facing our country."

Over the weekend, Huntsman, according to multiple news organizations, said he would skip the Hawkeye state because he does not believe in "subsidies that prop up corn, soybeans and ethanol," a risky stance in the state that leads the country in corn production.

GOP presidential contender and former Minnesota Gov. Tim Pawlenty made a similar statement during his campaign announcement in Iowa, where he called for the phasing out of federal government subsidies.

Pawlenty, who has neither high name recognition nor independent wealth, does not have the luxury of skipping Iowa. However, it may be a different situation for Huntsman, who will likely take a Romney-esque approach to the presidential campaign calendar if he jumps in the race, focusing his energy in New Hampshire, Florida and South Carolina.

Whatever his strategy, Schultz said Huntsman's position means the former U.S. ambassador to China is not ready for a run in 2012.

"Is Jon Huntsman not coming to Iowa because he opposes ethanol subsidies or because he is afraid to explain his positions on other issues?" Schultz said. "If Mr. Huntsman refuses to compete in a bellwether state like Iowa, he's not ready for the big dance."

- 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 and @cnnpolitics on Twitter.

Filed under: 2012 • Iowa • Jon Huntsman
soundoff (29 Responses)
  1. Sebastian

    Open your eyes America and you will see that President Obama has succeeded in turning the Presidential conversation into a more civil one.

    Republican Party elders are distancing themselves from the racist, rabid right wingers spewing hate. They long for a candidate like Huntsman who can credibly [at least so far] be viewed by a plurality of Americans as moderate. Romney could have owned this part of the party but has veered – some would say flopped – hard right and just latches on to the latest "Red Meat" diatribe against President Obama.

    I still don't believe that Huntman can beat the President in 2012 because the similarities are too strong and the GOP has polarized the electorate too much. Huntsman will be labeled a RINO. But by 2016, and with a second GOP Presidential loss, the Republican party will come to its senses and nominate & support an adult for the Presidency. At that point, the Tea Party will be made to go sit in a corner somewhere.

    June 6, 2011 01:43 pm at 1:43 pm |
  2. JB

    If you are going to cut farm subsidiaries then you should also cut tax deductions for children and tithing. I don’t want the government to subsidize your many children or fake religion. Thanks!

    June 6, 2011 01:55 pm at 1:55 pm |
  3. Virginia11775

    Iowa demands a lot of face time with voters, and Huntsman has been back from China barely a month. Candidates who plan to compete in that primary have already been there for months. Evangelicals play a large role in the outcome, and they don't like Mormons. Even if they will come around, Iowa loves subsidies. Huntsman opposes them. Finally, they want red meat (look how they flew Christie in - northeast liberal open to subsidies and famous for Youtube rants) and Huntsman is a congenial wonk. He is smart to focus his groundgame in the later primaries, and let TPaw, Bachmann and pizza mogul Cain duke it out for loudest, most intolerant and corn / Jesus-loving Republican.

    June 6, 2011 02:18 pm at 2:18 pm |
  4. Randy, San Francisco

    Smart move by Huntsman. He took note of what happened to Romney. Iowa will go to one of the more conservative candidates.

    June 6, 2011 02:38 pm at 2:38 pm |
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