Utah politicians torn over Romney, Huntsman

Complicating matters for Chaffetz is the fact that he served as Huntsman's first chief of staff, and his old boss is quickly ramping up a presidential bid.

Another prominent politico in the state is Gov. Gary Herbert, who assumed office after Huntsman resigned to become ambassador to China. Herbert joked in February that "I might endorse them both," but most think he'll back Romney, since he has criticized Huntsman for being insufficiently conservative. Romney also campaigned for Herbert during the governor's tough election bid, which might engender further loyalty.

Sen. Mike Lee (R-Utah) also has ties to Huntsman, but isn't ready to back his old boss yet. He served as Huntsman's general counsel for 18 months, but remains conflicted, saying last month that he has "great affection" for Huntsman, but also thinks Romney would be a "great candidate."

Yet while Utah politicos remain torn, the state's populace doesn't appear to be. A February poll showed Romney crushing Huntsman in a hypothetical 2012 primary in Utah, 72 percent to 15. 

And even though pundits suggest Huntsman will make his appeal to independents and Democrats central to his candidacy, a poll of all voters in Utah showed the state preferring Romney by 30 percent.