As Jon Huntsman continues to navigate his way through the Republican primary field, his navigation of energy and environmental policies is drawing some attention.
A recent article in Politico characterized the former Utah governor and ambassador to China as a candidate who is generally taking a middle ground on energy policy. “Huntsman is running the risk of being seen as an Arnold Schwarzenegger-style Republican who will only antagonize many of the primary voters he would need to win the GOP nomination,” wrote Darren Samuelsohn. Here are three other interesting observations from Samuelsohn’s assessment of Huntsman.
1. Huntsman to speak at Theodore Roosevelt Banquet
Huntsman will be speaking at the Theodore Roosevelt Banquet at the end of the month. The banquet is basically the main event for the group Republicans for Environmental Protection. REP has not been quiet over the last few years when it came to criticizing House Republicans for their attacks on President Obama’s environmental policies. It’s fair to call these guys a middle-of-the-road political organization. Having Huntsman speak reinforces the characterization of Huntsman as a middle-of-the-road candidate.
2. Environmental lawyer named Huntsman's top policy advisor
Huntsman is also getting some attention for bringing on Mark McIntosh as his campaign’s top policy director. McIntosh has some credibility in both Republican and Democratic camps. He did work as an environmental lawyer for President George W. Bush, and he has also spent time working for the PEW Environment Group and Earthjustice. He also has ties to the Natural Resources Defense Council, Sierra Club, the League of Conservation Voters and the Earth Day Network.
3. Still waffling, like Romney and T-Paw
While Huntsman has some serious environmental ties, he is still hedging his bets by not being clear about his stance on climate change and other bellwether issues. That being said, his movement to the right is not different from other candidates. Mitt Romney and Tim Pawlenty have gone out of their way in recent months to erase their past stances on climate change. But, as Samuelsohn pointed out, Huntsman is still keeping his foot in both political pools, like former Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger. The tough part will be getting through the Republican primary, but if he does it will make for quite the political environment. Pun intended.
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