Huntsman to appear at Tea Party town hall in SC

Paul Conner Executive Editor
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Jon Huntsman is set to get face time with a key voting bloc  — Tea Party conservatives — as he aims to gain traction in South Carolina.

Huntsman, formerly both Utah’s governor and the U.S. ambassador to China, is scheduled to appear at a “first in the South” presidential town hall sponsored by South Carolina Republican Rep. Tim Scott and nine Tea Party groups.

A national Pew Research Center poll released last Thursday shows Huntsman attracting about two percent of Tea Party support.

The town hall, to be held next Sunday in Charleston, S.C., will be a chance for members of the groups — including the Charleston Tea Party, the Berkeley County GOP and the Summerville 9-12 Project — to get up close and personal with Huntsman. A Huntsman spokesman confirmed the appearance.

“Our Town Hall Series will be a unique opportunity for South Carolina voters to get to know the candidates, one at a time, and ask them the questions that matter to our state and our country,” Scott said. “This is a chance for everyone to be involved in the process.”

Scott may be just a freshman in Congress, but the town hall series gives him a chance to throw his weight into the 2012 presidential campaign.

And as to whether there is a genuine Tea Party candidate in the Republican field, Scott said it is more important to unite the GOP base. (RELATED: Huntsman blames slow start on ‘the dog days of summer’)

“In my mind, there is no such thing as a Tea Party candidate, or an establishment candidate,” Scott said. “There is only the right candidate — the man or woman who embodies our conservative values and who will lead our party back to the White House.”

In the past, Huntsman has called the Tea Party a “classical case of a spontaneous uprising of people who are fed up.”