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Huntsman, Romney fight on each other's home turf

July 07, 2011|By Tom Hamburger
(Darren McCollester, Getty…)

Earlier this week, Mitt Romney announced a list of Utah supporters that included, among others, the former chief of staff to former Utah Gov. Jon Huntsman, a rival for the Republican presidential nomination.

Thursday, Huntsman's campaign kicked back with an announcement of support from heavyweights in Massachusetts, where Romney served as governor from 2003 to 2007.
Former Massachusetts state GOP Chairman Jim Rappaport will serve as Huntsman's Massachusetts chairman and Northeast regional co-chair, the campaign announced.

Photos: The 2012 GOP presidential hopefuls

Peter Monaco and Peter Malone will serve as Massachusetts finance co-chairs and will be joined by Rice Powell on the Northeast regional finance team.

Rappaport was the Republican nominee for Senate in Massachusetts in 1990 and a member of the Republican National Committee from 1992 to 1997. Malone and Monaco have both been longtime financial supporters of Republican candidates and causes in Massachusetts and nationally.

The competition among presidential candidates for home state backers is nothing new. In 2008, New York Mayor Rudolph Giuliani received support from former Massachusetts Gov. Paul Cellucci.

Even before this week, it was clear that prominent Utah officials, including Sen. Orrin Hatch, were backing Romney. But the addition of Huntsman's former chief of staff to the mix provided some sting. 

Rep. Jason Chaffetz worked for two years as a top aide to then-Gov. Jon Huntsman. In an interview, Chaffetz said he broke the news last week to Huntsman, who he said "will be very formidable in the future."

Romney is in London on Thursday and Huntsman is laying low until a weekend trip to Florida.

Romney arrived in the United Kingdom on Wednesday for a fundraiser with Americans living there. He met Thursday with Prime Minister David Cameron.

The London Independent newspaper opened their story contrasting Romney's decidedly low-key visit with that of another candidate.

"The last time a United States presidential hopeful came to London police had to hold back crowds as the rare sight of a beaming Gordon Brown ushered Barack Obama through the door of No 10."

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