The chairman of Mike Huckabee’s 2008 S.C. presidential campaign said today that he will back Jon Huntsman for the Republican nomination if the former Utah governor enters the race.
Mike Campbell, the son of late former Gov. Carroll Campbell and an unsuccessful, one-time candidate for lieutenant governor, said he was impressed with Huntsman after meeting him earlier this year. Campbell chaired former Arkansas Gov. Huckabee’s 2008 S.C. campaign, which finished a close second to eventual GOP nominee John McCain in the Palmetto State.
The winner of the S.C. GOP presidential primary has gone on to win the Republican nomination every year since 1980.
Campbell is the first member of Huckabee’s S.C. team to choose a new side following the former Arkansas governor’s announcement Saturday that he will not run.
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Campbell said Huntsman, Huckabee and his late father share a lot of qualities.
“I have to be able to really relate to the individual,” Campbell said. “There are a lot of similarities as to the kind of people they are. There’s not a lot of fluff or spin.”
Campbell acknowledged Huntsman – should he run – has a lot of work to do to introduce himself to S.C. voters, but noted Huckabee also began 2008 relatively unknown before winning the Iowa caucuses and finishing second in South Carolina.
“South Carolina is not the be-all, end-all primary focus” for Huntsman, Campbell said of Huntsman’s early-state strategy. “But it’s extremely important to him in the nomination process.”