Iowa guv to Huntsman: Not competing in Iowa 'stupid mistake'

SMU Political Science Professor Matthew Wilson talks about the politics of presidential candidates and the need to curry favor with Republican governors.

By Lisa Riley Roche
Deseret News

SALT LAKE CITY — Iowa Gov. Terry Branstad has a tough message for fellow Republican Jon Huntsman Jr., who may be the only presidential candidate attending next week's National Governors Association annual meeting in Utah.

"If I get a chance to, I'll tell him what a stupid mistake he's making," Branstad told The Deseret News, referring to the former Utah governor's decision to skip next year's Iowa's presidential caucus, the first votes that will be cast in the 2012 election. . .

Republican governors haven't gotten behind a presidential candidate since George W. Bush ran in 2000, and don't appear to be in any hurry to back any of the current contenders vying for the chance to unseat President Barack Obama.

Especially since one of their own, Texas Gov. Rick Perry, appears increasingly likely to enter the race. . .

Even though Perry won't be there, he's likely to be the focus when the discussion turns to presidential politics, said Matthew Wilson, a political science professor at Southern Methodist University in Dallas.

"He would immediately shake up the race," Wilson said. "He's the one current governor who could potentially be a major player in the presidential race. He's an obvious person to be talked about."

Wilson said the GOP presidential candidates are looking to the governors in their party for help campaigning in their states. "Every governor has a grass-roots campaign network," he said. "It's really a question of wooing individual governors."

Read the full story.

# # #