Thursday, July 20, 2006

Future Backlash for Huntsman

A Salt Lake Tribune online article about Huntsman's support of Romney is showing some reaction of political people in Utah. It's an interesting situation when you think about it. Why would the Utah governor go so far in his support of McCain so early?

University of Utah's Hinckley Institute of Politics Director Kirk Jowers, who also serves as counsel to Romney's political action committee, the Commonwealth PAC, was taken aback by the endorsement.

"As a political observer, I was stunned because I'm not aware of any other governor trying to cast lots with potential 2008 candidates because none of them are candidates yet," Jowers said. "It's hard for me to imagine what the governor thinks the upside would be with this type of early posturing."

Good question? What does he have to gain? A spot on McCains hopeful cabinet. When you put this next quote with the last you begin to see the strategies at play:

Kelly Patterson, director of the Brigham Young University Center for the Study of Elections and Democracy, says Huntsman's action may actually help dilute theories that all Mormons will back Romney.

"The perception on the outside is that the Mormon community is monolithic," Patterson said. "This is confirmation that there are a variety of interests within the community and they'll sort themselves out in the campaign."

There isn't going to be alot of high level jobs on a Romney campaign for fellow LDS politicians. The wrong message would have been sent if Romney hired the Utah governor for the same role as McCain did. Surely it would have comfirmed the common perception that Patterson stated, that Mormons are just taking smoke signals from Salt Lake. This definitly will help diffuse that perception.

Definitly McCain see's the value in attracting Mormons when the his most likely serious challenger will be Romney. The mormon vote is seen as a rising influence. States like Colorado and Arizona that went to Bush in '04 by small margins also have large Mormon populations of 10% or so.

This also signals who McCain see's as his most viable competitor. I don't think Huntsman has anything McCain oculdn't find somewhere else, other than his status as an influential mormon politician. So why this pick then?

While this has the appearance of a dig at the Romney campaign, I think it won't make too much of a differance. It does show that Huntsman has higher aspirations than Governor of Utah.


Post a Comment

<< Home