Former Utah governor and ambassador to China Jon Huntsman officially launched his run for the White House in South Carolina Wednesday. Huntsman flew down to Columbia to register, as well as pay a $35,000 filing fee with the state Republican Party for next year’s primary.
He also toured TEC Infra-Red Grills, a manufacturer located on the south side of the city, with former state Attorney General Henry McMaster and Mike Campbell, the son of the late Governor Carroll Campbell. Afterwards, he spoke to reporters (6:22).
Huntsman said he would focus more on South Carolina and New Hampshire, rather than campaigning in Iowa— home to the first GOP caucuses in 2012. He said his opposition to ethanol subsidies and his late start would hurt him in that state.
As we pick and choose, you have to say in which states you are likely to be more competitive. In Iowa, I think we would be less competitive. In New Hampshire and South Carolina I think we can be extremely competitive.
Huntsman faces an uphill battle in South Carolina, where he’s not very well known. Conservatives are also not happy with his past support of stimulus funding and his previous job as an ambassador for President Barack Obama.
During his press conference, he was asked if the President should get involved in the National Labor Relation Board’s actions against Boeing.
Absolutely the President should step in and allow businesses to be able to negotiate contracts and deals with the individual sovereign states… I mean, let’s face it. Eighteen months after the deal was stuck and the plant was up, the lawsuit came in.
It’s not the former governor’s first trip to the city. He previously spoke at the University of South Carolina’s graduation ceremony in May.
Meanwhile, South Carolina Democrats took the opportunity to attack Huntsman’s record. In a conference call, party chairman Dick Harpootlian called him a political “schizophrenic” for changing his positions on some issues, such as the stimulus. Harpootlian also noted the former ambassador’s ties to Obama, sarcastically saying Democrats “always welcome Obama Administration officials in South Carolina.”