Huntsman to boycott Nevada debate

Rachel Rose Hartman
The Ticket

Jon Huntsman announced Friday that in addition to boycotting the Nevada caucuses, he will be boycotting next Tuesday's presidential debate in Nevada. In lieu of campaigning in Nevada, Huntsman will head to the first-in-the-nation primary state of New Hampshire.

The former Utah governor will "instead hold a 'First-in-the-Nation' Town Hall Meeting in New Hampshire, to discuss his bold plans to create jobs and reform America's foreign policy for the 21st Century," campaign manager Matt David announced in a statement.

Huntsman, Minnesota Rep. Michele Bachmann, former House Speaker Newt Gingrich and former Pennsylvania Sen. Rick Santorum have all joined together to protest Nevada's decision to hold its caucus on Jan. 14. On Friday, Huntsman's camp called on the other GOP candidates to join him for the Oct. 18 town hall.

Gingrich spokesman R.C. Hammond told The Ticket Friday that Gingrich will not be boycotting the debate, but is continuing to boycott the caucus.

"

The Iowa caucus and New Hampshire primary start start the conversation about who is the next person to lead the country and it's important that that country has that conversation, but it's just as important that conversation isn't rushed and isn't manipulated," Hammond said.

When asked to respond to the suggestion boycotting Nevada is linked to candidates who aren't polling well in the state, Hammond rejected the suggestion, citing support for New Hampshire and blasting polls. "The numbers are changing weekly," Hammond said.

Gingrich, Santorum and other boycotters have cited news reports that suggest Mitt Romney's campaign has been working behind the scenes to secure the push for Nevada to hold an early caucus. The campaign for the former Massachusetts governor has not directly denied the accusations.

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