Jon Huntsman’s presidential campaign has a half-million dollars more debt than cash on hand, it reported Friday, another blow to the ex-Utah governor’s already struggling effort.
In a report filed with the FEC, Huntsman said he had $327,000 available at the end of the third fundraising period, while holding $890,000 in debt. The startling discrepancy is reflective of fundraising that has fallen well short of expectations and a campaign operation that was too expensive to maintain.
Huntsman raised a total of $4.51 million, half of which came from a personal $2.25 million contribution from the candidate himself. During the same fundraising period, the first for which he has had to report his finances, the former governor spent $4.18 million.
Huntsman has had to dramatically reorganize his campaign in recent months, moving his headquarters from Florida to New Hampshire, where he now spends nearly all his time. He also has shed staffers, including his campaign manager and the director of his Granite State effort.
Tim Miller, a spokesman for the campaign, emphasized it has made the changes necessary to become competitive for the rest of the GOP presidential race.
“Since the end of the third quarter, Governor Huntsman has unveiled a bold foreign policy plan, performed strongly in the debates and seen positive momentum in every New Hampshire poll,” Miller said. “Our campaign has reorganized to become more nimble with a focus on success in New Hampshire and our fundraising this first two weeks of this quarter has reflected that.”
Once touted as a leading contender for the party’s nomination, the ex-U.S. ambassador to China has failed to make much of an impact on the presidential contest. A strategy that hinged on bucking some of the party’s more conservative elements – for instance, he’s called denying climate change “anti-science” – has failed to impress GOP voters, and he rarely cracks 2 percent in national polls.
Friday’s report underscores his weakness compared to his top-tier rivals. It came just hours after Mitt Romney reported a $14 million haul this quarter, while Rick Perry raised $17 million in his campaign’s first six weeks.