COMMENTARY | Former governor of Utah and U.S. ambassador to China John Huntsman officially announced Tuesday in front of the Statue of Liberty that he will be running for the Republican nomination in the 2012 presidential race. Although the former Eagle Scout has many advantages, Huntsman does have three major disadvantages: lack of name recognition, his resume is not as strong as other Republican presidential candidates and Christian evangelicals may not vote for him because he is a Mormon.
Lack of name recognition
One of Huntsman’s fundamental flaws and weaknesses is that many Americans are probably unfamiliar with the former ambassador, which could translate into a more grueling presidential campaign. As any politician would know, it is essential for potential voters to be familiar with the politician; Huntsman’s name does not carry the same significance as Michele Bachmann, Mitt Romney or even Ron Paul. Despite being the former governor of a state with almost 3 million citizens, Huntsman needs to campaign efficiently and successfully if he is to have a legitimate chance for the Republican presidential nomination.
Resume is not as strong as other Republican presidential candidates
Unfortunately for Huntsman, his resume is not as impressive as the resume of other GOP hopefuls. Unlike Rick Santorum, his resume lacks experience as a senator. Rep. Ron Paul also has a much better political resume, as he has been a member of the House of Representatives for more than 20 years. In addition, Rep. Michelle Bachmann was a state senator for six years and a representative for the past four years.
Huntsman has decent foreign affairs experience, as he has been the ambassador to two different countries in Asia, but he never held a strong political position besides being the governor of Utah from 2005-2009. To Huntsman’s defense, he is only 51 years old and had a favorable tenure as governor, but one can argue that he left Utah prematurely and would have had a better chance in 2016 if he had remained in office.
Huntsman’s Mormon faith could force him to lose potential voters
Since the establishment of the United States in the 18th century, the country has been predominately Protestant; the majority of political positions have been held by members of the Baptist or Methodist faiths. To make matters worse for Huntsman, there has only been one United States president who was not Protestant, and there has never been a president who was Mormon. Even though the United States is becomingly rapidly more diverse, the former governor may be at a disadvantage because of his faith. Only time will tell if Huntsman loses potential voters because of his faith or because of his political resume.
Dan Amira, “Nearly One in Five Republicans Wouldn’t Vote for a Mormon,” New York Magazine.
Duncan Robinson, “Jon Huntsman launches bid for President,” New Statesman.
Tom Harrington, “Rick Santorum the Right Choice for the 2012 Presidential Race,” Associated Content from Yahoo!