Jon Huntsman Jr. kicks off a fundraising swing to California today, looking to drum up support for his likely presidential bid. The former Utah governor will meet with donors in San Francisco, Los Angeles and Orange County, as likely opponent Mitt Romney continues to show his fundraising edge — last week, he raised $10 million in a single day.
Though Huntsman has access to a vast family fortune, he has said that, should he run, he will rely on donors rather than his own wealth. Huntsman, who was born in Palo Alto, Calif., has a team of advisers who worked for former California governor Arnold Schwarzennegger.
Huntsman, who spent last week in New Hampshire meeting with party leaders and voters, met yesterday with President George H.W. Bush in Maine at a private lunch.
Huntsman served in the administration of George H.W. Bush as deputy assistant secretary of commerce and as U.S. ambassador to Singapore. Members of the Bush family had seemed to support Indiana Governor Mitch Daniels's potential candidacy — Laura Bush called Cheri Daniels to encourage her to back her husband’s run.
But with Daniels out of the race, a Bush family endorsement is up for grabs — Tim Pawlenty met with the elder Bush in Texas this month. Of all the likely candidates, Huntsman has the deepest ties to the Bush family, having also worked for President George W. Bush as deputy U.S. trade representative.
Huntsman, who will announce his intentions in June, will meet next week with Texas Governor Rick Perry, who Republicans have courted for 2012, but has said he will not run. He heads back to New Hampshire at the end of the next week, where polls show a wide open race.