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Can Jon Huntsman really carve out a path to the GOP nomination?

Jon Huntsman, set to announce his presidential bid on Tuesday, will skip the Iowa caucuses and is little-known in New Hampshire, the first primary state. His biggest hurdle: Mitt Romney.

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Former Utah Governor Jon Huntsman speaks at an event hosted by Thomson Reuters in New York, June 14. Huntsman will announce his bid for the White House next Tuesday, bringing a moderate Republican and expert on America's fastest growing competitor into the race to challenge President Barack Obama in 2012.

Brendan McDermid/Reuters

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Does Jon Huntsman, who will formally enter the crowded presidential field next Tuesday, really have a path to the Republican nomination?

The former Utah governor has hired top-tier staff, including former McCain strategist John Weaver, pollster Whit Ayres, and New Hampshire organizer Paul Collins. He has lined up major donors. And he has his own wealth (though he has said he won’t tap into it).

All he needs is voters.

Mr. Huntsman has already announced that he’s skipping Iowa, where the straw poll in August and caucuses in early 2012 will give participants their first tests. That means he has to do well – a top-three finish – in the next contest, the New Hampshire primary. But so far Huntsman is little known in the Granite State, and Mitt Romney, the former governor of neighboring Massachusetts, is building a formidable lead.

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