U.S. Ambassador to China Jon Huntsman Jr. has only a month left on the job before he presumably returns home, and in the mean time a lot is continuing to happen behind the scenes stateside, in case he decides to make pursuing the presidency his next challenge.
First up, the shadow campaign operation continues to expand. A Republican strategist who supports Jon Huntsman Jr. confirms to Fox that Paul Collins and Brad Blais will join Peter Spaulding in New Hampshire "to advise on local issues" in the critical, first-in-the-nation primary state. This brings the Horizon PAC payroll to more than a dozen people. Five firms are also said to be part of the infrastructure, which has been widely dubbed the campaign-in-waiting. As explained to Fox, as these consultants from various states with different specialties come on board, they're usually attached with a firm, so it's kind of a package deal.
There's a report Horizon will initially "avoid focusing resources... (in) socially-conservative state of Iowa." But an insider would not comment, noting that nothing has really been decided and it's too early talk about strategy until there's an official campaign.
For the second time in as many weeks, the possibility has been raised of Huntsman holding off until 2016. It first reportedly surfaced in a fundraising e-mail and now it's Huntsman's brother who's doing the talking. Even as the idea of a delay is being floated, a source tells Fox all indications still show and give reason for "hope and confidence" that Huntsman will run in 2012.
While there is no formal or informal relationship between Horizon PAC and Huntsman, the organization got tons of press when its website first debuted last month with a big, red H. Now, it has gotten a makeover. The H is gone and Horizon is spelled out. As reported by The Salt Lake Tribune, it's to avoid confusion down the line, if there's an eventual campaign. The change was described to Fox as "the evolution of the organization."