Midwest Regional Sweet Sixteen Matchup: Roemer vs. Huntsman
#2 seed: Former Governor Jon Huntsman, Jr. (R-UT)
Born: March 26, 1960 (age 53) — Redwood City, California.
Background: Huntsman was born into both wealth and the power structure of the Mormon church — his father, billionaire Jon Hunstman, Sr. is the CEO and Chairman of the Huntsman Corporation and his mother, Karen Huntsman is the daughter of LDS apostle David B. Haight. Huntsman, Jr. is well known for dropping out of high school to tour with his rock band, “Wizard,” with which he played keyboards. He later attained his GED and finished his schooling at both University of Utah and University of Pennsylvania. Huntsman’s first exposure to politics was working as a staff assistant during the Reagan administration, and in 1992, George W. Bush appointed him ambassador to Singapore, making him the youngest US ambassador in more than 100 years. In January 2001, George W. Bush appointed him Deputy US Trade Representative, and in 2004, Huntsman ran for and won the Governor’s seat in his home state of Utah where he served until being appointed Ambassador to China by Barack Obama in 2009. Of course, independent voters may remember Huntsman’s 2012 presidential campaign as a nonstarter, but he certainly proved he’ll be on the party shortlist for future campaigns, especially as the GOP “evolves” on social issues.
Former Party: None.
Strength: Foreign Policy & Political Moderation. Huntsman can certainly claim more expertise on foreign relations with China and Asia in general than anyone else in his party, having served as Ambassador to both Singapore and China, as well as serving a two year missionary stint in Taiwan where he learned to speak Mandarin fluently. Huntsman has also served as a moderate voice in his party on issues ranging from gay marriage to climate change, no doubt appealing to independent voters in the middle to the left of the ideological spectrum.
Weakness: 2012 Presidential Campaign. For someone that certainly looks, sounds, and has enough “personal wealth” to be “presidential,” Huntsman, Jr. didn’t get very far in the 2012 GOP nomination contest. Sticking all his eggs in the New Hampshire basket, Huntsman only managed a weak third place finish, essentially ending all hope at running a credible challenge to Mitt Romney, Newt Gingrich, or Rick Santorum.
#3 seed: Former Governor Charles “Buddy” Roemer (R-LA)
Born: October 4, 1943 (age 69) – Shreveport, Louisiana.
Background: Roemer may be the most colorfol character to make the sixteen politician field of IVA Madness. Running for President in 2012 first as a GOP member who couldn’t make a 10 candidate debate field despite being a former Governor, then as a nominee for the failed Americans Elect experiment, and finally as a Reform Party nominee before he suspended his campaign in July 2012 due to lack of ballot access in several states.
Former Party: Several. Democratic (Until 1991), Republican (1991-2012), Americans Elect/Reform (2012).
Strength: Campaign Finance. Throughout his fringe 2012 presidential campaign, Roemer ripped American campaign finance laws, and even pledged at one point to not accept donations over $100. Roemer is vehemently against super PAC’s and soft money, as well as the “1%” and corporate greed, and doesn’t sound very much like a Republican anymore…
Weakness: Campaign Finance. Buddy, we get it! We’re also fed up with the state of campaign finance laws in the US today, but to make any sort of splash, you need MONEY, and limiting your ability to raise it isn’t helping your, or any politician’s campaign for anything other than a local office.