Jon Huntsman opened his campaign with a shot at his fellow Mormon Mitt Romney--and so far, Romney hasn't returned fire, at least not rhetorically. But the Romney campaign is trying to tinker with the Utah Republican primary to hurt Huntsman's chances, The Salt Lake Tribune's Robert Gehrke reports. Utah's Lt. Gov. Greg Bell, who serves as elections supervisor, told Gehrke, "I talked to the Romney people and said, 'Is this important for you?' And they said, 'A win is a win and delegate votes may really count.'" Bell added that he'd "love to see" his state "have a real impact on the election." What would that impact be? Squashing Jon Huntsman.
The attention to the primary in Utah (where Huntsman was governor from 2005 to 2009) shows how seriously frontrunner Romney is taking Huntsman (even if he is barely registering in the polls). Romney would trounce Huntsman in the Utah primary--even though the latter was reelected governor with 78 percent of the vote in 2008--if the primary vote were held today. A recent Deseret News/KSL-TV poll puts Romney at 50 percent of the vote to Huntsman's 22 percent. As Hotline editor Reid Wilson explained to the Tribune, "Losing his home state wouldn’t be devastating to Huntsman, but it would prove a major embarrassment and at a time when every single news story is crucial, it would raise questions about why he lost the one state he should definitely win."