Jon Huntsman, the other Mormon running for President, announced today that he’s moving his campaign headquarters to New Hampshire, indicating he believes that the state’s primary (the first in the nation) will be where he breaks out — if he breaks out. Huntsman’s campaign manager explained the decision to Reuters, saying that “success in New Hampshire is vital for our campaign to have the momentum we need to succeed in South Carolina, Florida, and the states that follow.” But a more cynical observer could see in this a clever (and forward-thinking) ploy to position Huntsman for the vice-presidency.
First off, when asked the VP question on CNN’s Piers Morgan, instead of the usual side-step — “I’m running for President of the United States, not Vice-President” — he said sure, why the heck not? Secondly, Joe Biden got the nation’s second-highest office despite consistently single-digit poll numbers (much like Huntsman) and a last-place showing in the Iowa caucuses in 2008. So imagine the argument Huntsman could make for himself if he actually placed reasonably well in New Hampshire. Third, it’s clear the former Utah governor has some serious VP appeal. As arguably the most moderate Republican in the current field — he’s even said nice things about President Obama! — Huntsman would be a much-needed tempering agent for the leading tea party prospects: Rick Perry, or, more recently, Herman Cain, even the lagging Michele Bachmann. The one big flaw in this theory is Romney’s resurgence, following his solid showing in last weekend’s straw polls and aided by a floundering Perry. If Romney becomes the eventual GOP nominee that leaves the likelihood of him choosing Huntsman at exactly -100 percent. Not to make politics all about checking off boxes, but a white-wealthy-Mormon duo don’t exactly scream presidential dream team.