No primary date set, but candidates start filing in New Hampshire

As most of the Republican hopefuls travel to Nevada for the latest presidential debate Tuesday, Jon Huntsman was making a statement in New Hampshire as one of the first candidates to file in person for a spot on the state’s primary ballot.

Monday is the first day of the two-week filing period in New Hampshire for a primary date that is still unknown, but could be held in as little as seven weeks.

Huntsman, the former Utah governor and ambassador to China, is boycotting Tuesday’s debate -- and potentially the Nevada caucuses entirely -- in a statement of support for New Hampshire’s first-in-the-nation status.


“In the hunt and only in N.H.,” Huntsman wrote as he signed a notice of elections poster in the secretary of state’s office in Concord on Monday, according to an NBC reporter.

Huntsman was the first prominent candidate to file in person in New Hampshire. He’s staked his entire candidacy on a strong performance there, and his Nevada boycott is aimed at generating some positive news coverage in the state; he had barely campaigned there, if at all, before.

New Hampshire Secretary of State Bill Gardner said he may be forced to call the state’s primary in December because Nevada decided to hold its caucuses on Jan. 14. State law requires seven days between the New Hampshire primary and any “similar election.”

Other candidates, including Rick Santorum, Newt Gingrich, Michele Bachmann and Herman Cain, have threatened to also boycott Nevada’s caucuses, but all are participating in the debate.

All it takes is $1,000 and the right paperwork to appear on the New Hampshire ballot. Fred Karger, an openly gay former political advisor, was the first candidate to submit his paperwork Monday. Texas Rep. Ron Paul filed by proxy.

Most candidates usually do choose to appear in person. According to Gardner’s office, Santorum will do so on Thursday, and Mitt Romney is likely to do so next Monday.

Vice President Joe Biden will also come to Gardner’s office Thursday on behalf of President Obama, to be listed on the Democratic primary ballot.