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Jon Huntsman moving campaign headquarters to New Hampshire

September 29, 2011|By Michael A. Memoli
(Cheryl Senter / AP )

Jon Huntsman Jr., struggling to gain traction with voters and donors alike, is uprooting his White House campaign and shifting most of its resources to New Hampshire, a state that now becomes make-or-break for the former Utah governor.

Huntsman launched his campaign in June with a headquarters in Orlando, Fla., where his wife had roots and which, more important, is centrally located in an early-voting state he had hopes of winning.

According to the campaign, that national headquarters will shift to Manchester, N.H., though it will maintain offices in Miami and South Carolina.

The announcement comes one day before the third-quarter deadline to report fundraising totals to the Federal Election Commission. Huntsman, who raised just over $4 million in the second quarter, is not expected to match that total again. The move includes some staff layoffs.

Though he is still polling in the low single digits nationally, Huntsman has highlighted a New Hampshire poll where he surged into the top tier. That state's first-in-the-nation primary is open to Republicans as well as independents and even Democrats, making it a more appealing target for the more moderate former ambassador to China.

"As evidenced by recent polling, Jon Huntsman's support with New Hampshire voters continues to grow every day and this move will ensure that we have the resources necessary to win [there]," campaign manager Matt David said in a statement.

The New Hampshire-or-bust strategy is one that John McCain employed at a similar point in the 2008 campaign. The hope is that a strong showing there could alter the dynamic of the race.

"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," David said.

But Mitt Romney remains the overwhelming frontrunner in the Granite State, which borders the state he governed and where he maintains a home.

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