Jon Huntsman declared his candidacy for 2012 presidential nomination from the Republican party.

As governor of Utah, Huntsman cut the state's taxes by more than $400 million—the largest tax cut in the state's history— and maintained AAA bond rating, and developed Utah as one of the best state for business.

During Huntsman's tenure, Utah was named the Best Managed State in America by Pew Research Center.

For the first time in history, we are passing down to the next generation a country that is less powerful, less compassionate, less competitive, and less confident than the one we got. This is totally unacceptable, and it is totally un-American, Huntsman told supporters in both New Jersey and New Hampshire.

I spoke today in the shadow of Lady Liberty, our nation's most famous symbol of freedom. It was in that same spot that Ronald Reagan, in a time of great crisis and worry, launched his campaign to restore the promise of America. Three decades later, this nation once again finds itself at a crossroads and in need of a new vision, a new path forward, and new leadership that knows we need more than hope - we need answers, Huntsman wrote in a blog post.

Huntsman, 51, started behind his Republican competitors in the polls but is holding the potential to blossom into a strong contender.

Let's see if Huntsman,a former ambassador to China under Obama administration, could beat Mitt Romney and win the presidential bid.

Huntsman pledged to make hard decisions to prevent America sinking into a debt disaster when he addressed supporters in front of the Statue of Liberty, where Ronald Reagan launched his successful first bid for the White House in 1980.

We must make hard decisions that are necessary to avert disaster, Huntsman said, painting a bleak picture of the debt problem and the huge U.S. budget deficit, due to hit $1.4 trillion this fiscal year.

If we don't, in less than a decade, every dollar of federal revenue will go to covering the costs of Medicare, Social Security and interest payments on our debt. Meanwhile, we'll sink deeper into debt for everything else -- from national security to disaster relief.

If Huntsman gains traction, he could rival former Massachusetts Governor Mitt Romney for the role of the moderate Republican candidate in a field populated by harder-line conservatives.

Romney has faced criticism for taking positions more conservative than those he supported running for office in Massachusetts.

Huntsman may score over Romney in consistency on policies. Romney earlier supported gay marriage when he was governor, but he is now against it. He also supported abortion but he is now abstaining from it.

Senate Democratic Leader Harry Reid said if he had to choose between Mitt Romney and Jon Huntsman in the presidential race, he may choose Huntsman as he was the lesser of two evils.

Asked today to weigh in on the two Mormons in the Republican presidential primary, the Senate leader said, If I had a choice I would favor Huntsman over Romney, CBS News reported.

Huntsman lacks national name recognition and many polls put his support at less than 2 percent, but his entry into the race worries the Democratic Obama administration because of his possible cross-party appeal.

Huntsman upset the White House in April by quitting his job in Beijing to prepare to run against Obama, who appointed him in 2009.

Despite questions about his previous job working for Obama as the U.S. ambassador to China and his widely dissected decision to not campaign in Iowa because of his opposition to ethanol subsidies, Huntsman has drawn plaudits for his moderation and reasonableness.

His campaign strategy, which includes setting up campaign headquarters in the key swing state of Florida, has won him praise from campaign watchers.

Huntsman has a very narrow window to the nomination but it's not insurmountable, said Ford O'Connell, a Republican strategist. He has made the sell to some big donors and high powered operatives. Now he needs to make a pitch to rank-and-file Republican voters. The rank and file is where the rubber meets the road.

Huntsman promised to conduct his campaign on the high road and respect Republican rivals as well as Obama, who leads most opinion polls of the 2012 presidential race.

Mormon Factor

But, one of the factors that may hinder Huntsman chances is the Mormon factor. Yes, John Huntsman is Mormon.

Even, the Mormon church has launched a massive ad campaign in New York City to recreate public perception of the religion practiced by its members.

In 2011, American voters remain prejudiced against Mormon candidates.

A recent Gallup poll showed that 22 percent of Americans won't vote for their party's candidate if he were Mormon. When US presidential elections are decided by just a few percentage points in swing states, 22 percent is a big number.

Moreover, if many Americans are hesitating to support their own party's candidate if he's Mormon, why would they vote for a Mormon in the primaries?

Traditionally, the Christian vote has been a major asset to Republican candidates in the general election. During the Republican primaries, it often picks winners. For example, a big reason for George W. Bush's political success was his ability to carry the Christian vote.

A 2007 Gallup revealed that 24 percent of Americans won't vote for a Mormon candidate nominated by their own party.

Fellow Mormon Mitt Romney, considered the frontrunner for the Republican Party, is likely aware of this. He has made his strategy clear: avoid talking about his Mormon faith and go hard on economic issues.

Jon Huntsman may also look to do the same. He already refers to his faith as his Mormon heritage. Like Romney, he's going to campaign aggressively on the economy and jobs market. He may also bring up the extensive international experience he has.

His one unique strategy is conducting a campaign on the high run road. He said he won't run down someone's reputation in order to run for the Office of President. Huntsman likely hopes that given the acrimony of the current political scene, his civility would be welcomed.

However, if he were to sidestep religion completely, he may have trouble capturing the Christian (especially evangelical) vote.

Among the other leading Republican candidates are former Minnesota Governor Tim Pawlenty, former House of Representatives Speaker Newt Gingrich and U.S. Representative Michele Bachmann.

The next United States presidential election will be held on Tuesday, November 6, 2012. It will be the 57th quadrennial presidential election in which presidential electors, who will actually elect the President and the Vice President of the United States on December 17, 2012, will be chosen.

Barack Obama, who is eligible for a second and final term as President, has announced that he would seek nomination to be the Democratic Party's candidate in this election.

The 2012 presidential election will coincide with the United States Senate elections where 33 races will be occurring as well as the United States House of Representatives elections to elect the members for the 113th Congress. The election will also encompass eleven gubernatorial races as well as many state legislature races.