The Salt Lake Tribune today delves into the issue of whether former Utah Governor-slash-U.S. Ambassador to China-slash-potential GOP contender for the 2012 presidential nomination Jon Huntsman is wealthy or not. Their conclusion: yes, he is. And yet! Is he wealthy enough to do something like self-finance his run for the White House? There, the answer is no. But either way, this is actually good news for Jon Huntsman.
Here's the Tribune's analysis:
Huntsman’s net worth ranges from $11 million to $74 million, according to a 2009 personal financial disclosure — the most recent available. Some of that wealth is set aside for his children and much of it is tied up in investments.
“The family name connotes wealth but I don’t know that he’s necessarily, personally uber-rich but that depends on your perspective,” says Rep. Jason Chaffetz, a Utah Republican who served as Huntsman’s first chief of staff. “He’s got more money than most and less than some.”
"More than most and less than some," is a contender for understatement of the year, if you happen to be paying attention to the lives of ordinary human Americans, but I digress! The Trib goes on to point out that Huntsman's net worth doesn't top that of others in the potential 2012 field, where Mitt Romney and -- depending on what you believe about his financial situation -- Donald Trump, both best Huntsman.
Ben Smith notes that Huntsman "has enough money to keep the lights on and to fund the early campaign (which his prosperous Utah backers also seem to have) but that he'll also have to fundraise aggressively."
So, he'll be a garden variety candidate, instead of a mega self-funder? That's not such a bad thing. During the 2010 election cycle, Elyse Siegel and I tracked a slew of self-funding candidates and found them to have an exceedingly high failure rate, with only Rick Scott and Ron Johnson following in NYC Mayor Michael Bloomberg's footsteps and notching the win. So, Jon Huntsman isn't rich enough to consider doing something massively foolish with his money? That's probably all for the best.