According to a new Suffolk University poll, Jon Huntsman has now moved
into third place in New Hampshire with 13 percent. Welcome to the wild
west! The state of play today is that Ron Paul, Mitt Romney and Newt
Gingrich all have a good chance to win the Iowa caucus. Jon Huntsman is
now making a run in New Hampshire. And a number of conservative opinion
leaders are now taking a second look at Huntsman, while the National Review launches a scathing attack on Gingrich.
We need more polling data to determine how serious the Huntsman run becomes. What could happen is that Newt loses his surge, Mitt fails to rise much above his 20-25 percent base, Ron Paul steadies above 20 percent in Iowa and they all come out of Iowa with a tight three-way finish.
Take a look at the very good story in The Hill today by Daniel Strauss, not only for more data from the poll but for intriguing quotes from the Huntsman campaign. Huntsman is simultaneously moving to reassert his conservative credentials and moving more boldly against banking bailouts, banks that are too big to fail and crony capitalism.
In my column in the paper today, titled "Ron Paul, Ross Perot," I suggested there is a golden opportunity for Paul, and near the end I dropped in Huntsman's name, to be the most aggressive New Hampshire candidate against crony capitalism and against the Supreme Court decision allowing unlimited independent special-interest campaign donations.
New Hampshire Republicans oppose the Citizens United decision by more than 60 percent, in a poll from Americans for Campaign Reform. I would add that independents in New Hampshire, who can vote in the primary, oppose that case and crony capitalism in gigantic numbers.
If either Ron Paul or Jon Huntsman escalates this crony capitalist issue in New Hampshire, that candidate can make a big run. This is why the Huntsman staff quotes, reported in The Hill story I mentioned, are intriguing. They suggest Huntsman may be thinking along the lines I am suggesting.
As Mitt Romney and Newt Gingrich escalate their attacks against each other, in Iowa this gives Ron Paul a chance to win, or Iowa could end in a virtual three-way tie. In this scenario, Jon Huntsman and Ron Paul could have a golden opportunity in New Hampshire to break through with Republicans and independents by leading the charge against crony capitalism.