Huntsman Launches PAC, Precursor to Possible GOP 2012 Bid

Politics   |   Steven Ertelt   |   May 3, 2011   |   5:17PM   |   Salt Lake City, UT

Former two-term Utah Governor Jon Huntsman, who recently stepped down from his position as ambassador to China to possibly launch a bid for the Republican nomination for president, has started a federal political action committee.

The move is seen as a precursor for a possible Republican bid for president in 2012 against pro-abortion President Barack Obama.

Huntsman, who is pro-life and supported and signed into law various pro-life bills, would be able to travel and raise money in the weeks ahead as he decides whether to take the next step in the process of becoming a candidate. Huntsman filed paperwork with the Federal Election Committee to begin “H PAC,” which would function eventually as the full-fledged campaign committee should he decided to move ahead further.

Huntsman spokesman Tim Miller told Politico the former governor will not use the “testing the waters” or exploratory committee that most other potential candidates have used to move step-by-step towards an official primary election campaign.

“This is a paperwork step,” Miller said. “He’s doing the organizational things required by campaign finance law. When he wants to make an announcement he will make an announcement.”

Miller indicated a decision on becoming an official candidate for the GOP nomination would come likely in early summer — in time for the all-important Ames, Iowa straw poll vote. Politico indicates Huntsman, freed form the legal constraints of serving as ambassador, has begun meeting with potential aides, donors and campaign workers as he prepares for the future.

While an official announcement would come in time to compete in Iowa, aides told Politico they don’t expect him to focus much time there — saying he won’t have the ability to mount a grassroots campaign necessary to compete with others in attracting Iowa voters. Instead, they say Huntsman will focus on New Hampshire and South Carolina, where they say the mainstream Republican has a better chance to make a name for himself with a surprise victory. Huntsman may also look to Florida, where his wealth allows him to potentially run a statewide campaign with significant television and radio advertising.

Although Huntsman is seen as a moderate on other political issues, he is fully pro-life.

Huntsman signed a trio of pro-life bills in February 2009 that the Utah legislature approved — including legislation to make second-trimester abortions illegal, a measure to allow women to know about the pain their unborn children will feel during an abortion, and a bill that would create a legal defense fund to pay for litigation related to lawsuit abortions advocates file against state legislation.

Huntsman has also lived out his pro-life views in that he has seven children, two of whom were from international adoptions.

In 1999, the Huntsman family adopted Gracie Mei from Yangzhou, China. She was a little girl who had been abandoned in a vegetable market. The path to adoption began when Huntsman’s wife Mary Kaye volunteered in a Catholic orphanage while they were living in Tien Mu, Taiwan. After they returned to the U.S., Mary Kaye continued to research adoptions and convinced Jon to start the process.

While attending a Christmas tree benefit auction she bought a tree dedicated to adoption. When the vendor asked her what to name it, her kids suggested the name for the new sister they hoped to someday have, Gracie Mei. Mary Kaye told the vendor that name at 8:15 p.m. and, when the Huntsman family returned home, there was a message received at 8:15  p.m. from the adoption agency notifying the family they had a found a child for the family.

The Huntsmans also adopted Asha Bharati from Gujarat, India in 2006.

That’s enough for Rob Wasinger, who headed the campaign of Sam Brownback in the 2008 presidential election, to support Hunstman.

“There are some candidates out there who claim to be pro-life, but as Governor, Jon Huntsman did the hard work of advocating for the cause of life when others would run and hide,” Wasinger said. ” I have found that in my years of public service, it is the people that actually have a record on an issue that are the most reliable.  Anyone can roll out talking points; but only a true leader can actually put together a record of service.”

“As pro-lifers we need someone who is 100% committed to the pro-life cause, and who can beat Obama in November of 2012,” Wasinger told LifeNews. “That person is Jon Huntsman and I, like many others in this country, are strongly encouraging him to run for President. Should Jon Huntsman run for President, I will work hard to elect him and to make sure we get his record of conservative accomplishment out to the voters.”