Plug the name “Jon Huntsman,” the state “New Hampshire” and the word “lonely” into a search field and you’ll get lots of hits.
“In New Hampshire, Jon Huntsman Walks A Lonely Path,” a Los Angeles Times headline reads.
“It’s been a long lonely road for Jon Huntsman who has been winding is way through the Granite State mining votes while the rest of the GOP field is shoring up votes in Iowa before Tuesday’s caucuses there,” says the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette‘s Early Returns 2.0 blog.
The former Utah governor and one-time ambassador to China (for Democratic President Barack Obama) has been taking a “lonely road on [the] campaign trail,” says the New Hampshire-Maine newssite SeacoastOnline.com.
Indeed, as we’ve said before, Huntsman didn’t compete in Iowa (where caucuses will be held Tuesday evening), and is “instead staking his chances on the next primary, Jan. 10, in New Hampshire.” And while he hasn’t been alone there every day, he has been the one GOP candidate of note who’s been focusing on the state (former Louisiana Gov. Buddy Roemer has also been traveling the state, but isn’t showing up in voter surveys). Huntsman makes the case that the outcome in New Hampshire will be based on who’s most electable — and says he’s that candidate.
If polls are any indication of how the strategy is working, Huntsman has moved close to the No. 3 spot in New Hampshire. He’s got the support of about 10 percent of GOP voters in the state, according to Real Clear Politics’ charts. But that’s far behind the No. 1 contender, former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney, who stands around the 40 percent mark.
Still, a move into the No. 3 or 4 spot behind Romney, Rep. Ron Paul of Texas and possibly former House Speaker Newt Gingrich could keep Huntsman’s bid alive.
Of course, he won’t be alone in New Hampshire much longer. There are debates in the state this coming Saturday and Sunday. And you have to believe Huntsman’s Republican peers will be arriving well before the weekend. So he’ll soon have company on the trail.