Christie Todd Whitman, the former governor of New Jersey, is trying to persuade GOP presidential hopeful Jon Huntsman
to run as an independent. “I would hope he would do it, frankly. He’s someone that I would support,” Whitman told Politico.
A Republican herself, Whitman has been leading an effort to draft a third-party presidential candidate through a group called Americans Elect, which is committed to getting its candidate on the ballot in all 50 states.
Huntsman is a natural because he does not appear likely to be able to overcome the momentum of GOP frontrunners Newt Gingrich and Mitt Romney.
“I don’t see that kind of traction unless he can pull off a surprise in New Hampshire, where independents are allowed to vote,” Whitman told Politico, adding that she had not spoken with Huntsman about joining her group, which plans to select a bipartisan presidential ticket via an online vote.
Huntsman told the Boston Globe earlier this week that he will not rule out a third-party run, but does not think he would break ranks with the GOP.
Whitman predicts that Americans Elect will gain recognition once it succeeds in getting qualified for the ballot in California, a decision that is pending. The group is already qualified for the ballot in 11 states, including Alaska, Arizona, Arkansas, Colorado, Florida, Kansas, Michigan, Mississippi, Nevada, Ohio and Utah, according to Politico, which reports that its status is pending in Hawaii as well.
“It’s now getting that credibility and people are starting to understand that we’re going to be on all 50 states,” Whitman says, adding that a small base of very active political partisans control the process for both Democrats and Republicans.
In her case, Whitman says she has felt a backlash from fellow Republicans.
“It is, to an extent, taking on the party, which is awkward, always — because it is another process that is not part of what we’re traditionally used to,” she adds. “For those who were in office, it’s difficult to stand up because you are taking on your party and you need them, and you’ve got to be a little bit cautious.”
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