A longtime family friend of presidential candidate Jon Huntsman described to Politico a disorganized campaign engulfed with drama as staffers resign, those that remain feud with one another and Huntsman remains mired in single digit poll numbers.
Huntsman has stumbled out to a slow start as he tries to distinguish himself from the other candidates by establishing himself as a moderate alternative. Campaign Manager Susie Wiles recently resigned in a blow to the faltering candidate, and Politico detailed how staff tension -- particularly because of disagreements with imperious top strategist John Weaver -- is hurting Huntsman.
"I look forward to a future of less drama, more money and increasing contrasts with my opponents," Huntsman wrote in an email to David Fischer, a longtime Huntsman confidante who also resigned from the campaign. "Goodness will overcome the temporary difficulties and early turf-protecting within the campaign," he added.
In an interview with Politico, Fischer attributed many of the campaign's failings to Weaver. A Huntsman spokesman shot back that Fischer's disclosures to Politico were an attempt to "threaten the campaign" and noted that Huntsman had asked Fischer to leave the campaign, allegedly because he was trying to "usurp authority."
The exchange offered a microcosm of what Politico described as a power struggle between those who support Weaver and those who do not. That friction is partially attributable to the fact that Huntsman assembled a team "on the run" that includes both people who have known the candidate for years and people who had never met him. That has exacerbated a rift caused at least in part by Weaver's aggressive and often brash style, which some people departing the campaign cited as their reason for leaving.
"They need to take a deeper look at the systemic problems within the campaign," an anonymous source told Politico. "I don't want to hurt Gov. Huntsman. I just think he's being ill-served by John Weaver."