Romney, Huntsman Vie for Mormon Money

Tuesday, 21 Jun 2011 11:57 AM

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Former Govs. Mitt Romney and Jon Huntsman are duking it out not only on the campaign trail for votes but also in parlors and meeting rooms for money. The two are hoping to secure the support of the Mormon community, one of the richest donor pools in the GOP, The Washington Post reported.

Mitt Romney, Mormon, Huntsman
Mitt Romney
Jon Huntsman, Romney
Jon Huntsman
Both candidates come from wealthy Mormon families and have long and similar resumes. Romney, who was governor of Massachusetts, headed up the 2002 Olympic Winter games. Huntsman, who was the governor of Utah, just returned from his appointment as President Barack Obama’s ambassador to China.

“That community is going to be split, there’s no doubt about it,” John Weaver, Huntsman’s chief strategist, told the Post. “That’s natural, because they know both families and they know both men.” Sources report that Huntsman and his team have been reaching out to Romney donors.

Romney raised $5.5 million in Utah for his 2008.

“There’s never been a history in this state of people giving money to those who run for president,” Stan Lockhart, a former chairman of the Utah Republican Party told the Post. “Mitt Romney changed the game when he raised all the money he did in 2008.”

Although Romney has put together a more national fundraising scheme this run, he has not forgotten his roots. He recently had fundraisers in two small Idaho cities with sizable Mormon populations and will host two events in Utah, the Post reported.

Romney has retained most of his 2008 supporters in Utah, but some have shifted to Huntsman. Zions Bank Chairman A. Scott Anderson gave to Romney in 2008 but will host a fundraiser for Huntsman Friday, the Post reported.

In the past, the two families supported each other, donating to the various campaigns and even serving on campaign committees. The Post noted there apparently was a falling out in 2008 when Huntsman endorsed Sen. John McCain, R-Ariz., before the primaries.

With a Gallup poll showing that 22 percent of U.S. voters would not vote for a Mormon for president, the chase for Mormon money could further highlight the faith of the two candidates and prove to be a negative, the Post reported.

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