Jon Huntsman makes friends, foes after trip to NH

Jun 6, 2011 2:41pm

ABC News' Sarah Kunin (@Sarah_Kunin) reports:

During his trip to New Hampshire last weekend, Jon Huntsman told a group of reporters that he will not be competing in Iowa because he believes crop subsidies "destroy the global marketplace."

Now, Iowa Secretary of State Matt Schultz is firing back at the former governor of Utah, declaring that Huntsman is “not ready for the big dance.” In a post today on conservative blog RedState, Schultz writes that Huntsman’s decision to avoid the Hawkeye state “seems to have as much credibility as ‘the dog ate my homework.’”

“It is apparent that Mr. Huntsman is in need of a lesson in Iowa politics,” writes Schultz. “Iowa is a bellwether state. We care about our families, our faith and our freedom. We are not single-issue voters. We just want to know how presidential candidates are going to make our country better. Hopefully Mr. Huntsman will change his mind and come to Iowa and explain how he plans on fixing the problems facing our country.”

Schultz, who is Mormon, also accuses Huntsman of “distancing himself from his Mormon faith.”

“Mr. Huntsman should know that Iowans elected me as their Secretary of State and my Mormon faith was never an issue,” writes Schultz.  “Is Jon Huntsman not coming to Iowa because he opposes ethanol subsidies or because he is afraid to explain his positions on other issues? Iowa Congressman Steve King opposes ethanol subsidies and he continues to get reelected with large margins of victory. If Mr. Huntsman refuses to compete in a bellwether state like Iowa, he is not ready for the big dance. After all, our last two presidents won the Iowa Caucus before they went to the White House.”

In choosing to avoid Iowa, Huntsman has focused much of his attention on New Hampshire.  He has made two separate trips to the Granite State in a two-week period, garnering support from voters who will participate in the nation’s first primary. Huntsman has also picked up an endorsement from students previously supporting Mitch Daniels.

After meeting with Huntsman at the Carroll County GOP breakfast on Saturday, Students for Daniels founders Max Eden and Michael Knowles, along with their 38 former Students for Daniels chapters across the country, have decided to campaign for the former governor.

In a statement on Facebook,  Eden says, "Governor Huntsman is the strongest candidate on our generation's biggest issue: the national debt.”

"Jon Huntsman can bring young voters back into the Republican party because he is a serious candidate, a big thinker, and an authentic guy. He is a statesman, not just a politician," says Knowles.

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