With football season in full swing, former Utah governor and GOP presidential hopeful Jon Huntsman took the opportunity to mingle with first-in-the-south voters at three different tailgate events in South Carolina today. Huntsman and his wife Mary Kaye weaved through grills and coolers to greet fans of the Clemson Tigers and the South Carolina Gamecocks.
“I’m running for president of the United States and South Carolina is mighty important in that process,” Huntsman told CBS affiliate WSPA-TV before the Clemson-Auburn game. “And where are you going to meet some of the great local people? You’re going to meet them at the football game. So we’re here, cheering for the Orange.”
Huntsman faced a slight conflict of interest at the University of South Carolina game later in the day. The Gamecocks hosted the Naval Academy, where Huntsman’s son, Jon III, is a sophomore.
“The people of this state have a huge say in who the next President of he United States will be,” Huntsman told WSPA. “I know they take that responsibility seriously. And we look forward to getting to know a whole lot more of them.”
Huntsman’s South Carolina campaign director Joel Sawyer told ABC News: “College football is more than a tradition here, it’s an institution. Clemson and Carolina games are an opportunity for retail politics in its purest form. The governor not only got to meet dozens of fans, supporters, and potential backers, but he also got to enjoy some darn good football.”