Former Utah Gov. Jon Huntsman
, who is weighing whether to jump into the race for the Republican presidential nomination, plans to open his national campaign headquarters in Orlando, Fla. The move reflects the Sunshine State’s import in deciding who will take on President Barack Obama in 2012, the Orlando Sentinel reported Thursday.
"This is not a Washington-based campaign and not a Washington-based candidate," said Susie Wiles, a Florida political consultant who ran Rick Scott's gubernatorial campaign.
Factors such as Florida’s status as a large swing state and that the Republican National Convention will be held in Tampa next year played a role in the decision to open the national office in Orlando, she said.
"Florida made a lot of sense, and Orlando made sense within Florida," Wiles said.
Huntsman’s exploratory committee also named Nikki Jerger Lowrey, a form aide to former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush as its Florida director.
"I believe we have a unique opportunity with Gov. Huntsman — a fresh face with a strong record of conservative governance and job creation in Utah," Lowrey said. "I will be honored to be a part of his team in my home state of Florida should he run."
Lowrey was aligned with Mississippi Gov. Haley Barbour's presidential campaign before he decided not to run.
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