ABC News’ Sarah Kunin (@sarah_kunin) reports:
They managed to narrowly avoid each other in Utah last week, but now former governors Mitt Romney and Jon Huntsman will come face-to-face for the first time as presidential candidates. The two Republican contenders will march in Amherst, New Hampshire’s 4th of July parade at 10 AM. A group of Ron Paul supporters will also participate in the event, though Paul will not be in attendance.
Mitt Romney will walk first in political section of the parade, followed by Paul’s group, and then Jon Huntsman. The order was determined by the date in which the candidates’ applications were received.
“We love it. We absolutely love it,” parade organizer Nancy Head told ABC News. “The townspeople look forward to having the candidates. The majority of the people are totally engaged in the political process. They want to know what the candidates stand for.”
The Amherst 4th of July parade has been a a hot spot for both Republicans and Democrats on the campaign trail for nearly 40 years. George W. Bush, John Kerry, Elizabeth Dole and Gerald Ford are just some of politicians with their eyes on the White House who have made the trip to the small New Hampshire town.
“I would gather from the reactions that it makes a real difference to people to see them in the parade,” said Head. “People will still talk about shaking George Bush’s hand and Elizabeth Dole’s hand. It’s a real personal touch and it makes the politicians very real to see them marching in the parade and I have a feeling it arouses a lot of interest for the politicians who attend.”
Huntsman spokesperson Tim Miller told ABC News, “We are looking forward to voters in New Hampshire having the opportunity to size up both candidates one on one this weekend. ” Romney’s team acknowledged that he would be marching in the same parade as Huntsman.
ABC's Emily Friedman contributed to this report