Photo: Michael Brendan Dougherty for Business Insider
According to a small batch of recent polls, Jon Huntsman is having a New Hampshire surge, contending with Ron Paul for second place behind Mitt Romney. We followed his campaign this weekend to see just how he was doing it.
Huntsman began Saturday campaigning in North Haverhill, which is in what most New Hampshire residents call 'The North Country'. The 100 or so spectators at the Senior centre were very grateful that any candidate came to them, especially so close to the primaries.
Joel, a retired pilot who lives in the area, hoped that Huntsman could seal the deal for him that day.
Mary Kaye Huntsman was the one who did the work introducing her husband. She cut quite a striking figure in North Haverhill. And she told a really emotional story about her husband returning the items of a National Guardsman killed in Iraq to his wife in Utah. It was moving.
Jon leveled with everyone saying that he needed their votes and wasn't ashamed to ask for them. He wanted New Hampshire to give the pundits (like me) a big surprise on Tuesday. He was solemn one minute and self-deprecating the next.
There were some media in attendance, but mostly local. The dirty secret is that most of the big-time media is too lazy to trek up this far north. Instead they hang around anywhere between Nashua and Concord.
Huntsman returned pretty quickly to his stump speech about restoring trust in the White House and in America. I kept watching Mary Kaye who has sat through these words about three or four hundred times. She could be doing many other things more comfortable than this but she is here. What a trooper!
He tried to explain some pretty complicated concepts about 'right-sizing' banks so they don't get bailouts. There is always a tension between appealing toward the crowd, and seeming distant.
In the next room over a local citizen started discussing the Federal Reserve system with Huntsman's policy director Mark McIntosh. You could tell the influence Ron Paul is having on making the Fed an issue.
The population of any diner a presidential candidate visits seems to double once the media comes in. It gets super crowded.
Huntsman finished his travelling that day by rallying his volunteers at his campaign headquarters in Manchester, before going into debate prep.
NOW WATCH: Briefing videos
Business Insider Emails & Alerts
Site highlights each day to your inbox.