E.J. Dionne wonders whether Jon Huntsman’s persistent efforts in New Hampshire will pay off in his new column, “A Huntsman Moment?”
Since all things seem possible in the Republican presidential contest, is there another turn coming that could benefit Jon Huntsman?
That would be the former Utah governor polling nationally at 3.2 percent, according to Wednesday’s Real Clear Politics average of national polls, slightly behind Rick Santorum. Huntsman is occasionally touted by the sort of commentators who would never go near a Republican primary ballot box; they like his reasonable, genial and intelligent tone. Many conservatives, on the other hand, see those traits as the marks of a dreaded liberalism.
Yet if Huntsman runs dead last nationally among the major candidates, he is behind only Mitt Romney, Newt Gingrich and Ron Paul in New Hampshire, and was in double digits in two recent polls. Huntsman has done so many events in this state that he and Michael Levoff, his New Hampshire communications director, disagree on the exact count. Before Huntsman spoke at a Rotary Club meeting at the Monadnock Country Club here on Monday, Levoff said it was the governor’s 121st event; in his speech, Huntsman said it was his 119th.
A Republican contest that is so discombobulated must have another spectacular twist or two in it, and a pair of voters who joined several dozen people in the cozy, knotty-pine clubhouse embodied the precise combination that Huntsman will need to pull off a Granite State miracle.