Utah Grumbles: Huntsman Isn't Mormon-y Enough

Faithful think he's trying to distance himself from LDS church
By John Johnson,  Newser Staff
Posted May 20, 2011 11:25 AM CDT
Former Utah Gov. Jon Huntsman, Jr. speaks at a Meet and Greet in Lebanon, N.H., Friday, May 19, 2011.   (AP Photo/Cheryl Senter)
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(Newser) – Jon Huntsman isn't flying his Mormon colors proudly enough for many in Utah, reports Politico. The former governor's decision to put his 2012 headquarters in Florida, coupled with comments perceived as downplaying his faith (he told Time it was "tough to define" whether he was still a Mormon), led to a spate of stories in Utah featuring LDS members carping that he views his church as a political liability. Huntsman's camp has countered that he remains "proud" to be a Mormon, but it seems clear he'd prefer that the topic not become a big issue.

“He’s trying to create a brand name that doesn’t keep 'Utah' and ‘Mormon’ at the forefront of people’s minds,” says a political science professor at Brigham Young. “‘Mormon’ didn’t do a lot for Mitt Romney. I think Huntsman is deliberately trying to brand himself in a different way.” (Click to read how a Huntsman adviser wants to avoid another "m-word," this time meaning "moderate.")

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