Mitt Romney and Jon Huntsman have begun to compete fiercely for Mormon support and campaign dollars, "creating deep division and uncertainty" among Utahns "who like both men and are now being forced to choose."
Utah, despite having only 2.8 million people, was Mr. Romney's third biggest source of money in 2008 -- after Massachusetts, where he had been governor, and California -- contributing more than $5.5 million. Mr. Romney also raised significant money in heavily Mormon areas of the West outside Utah, particularly in Idaho and Arizona. In the 2008 Republican presidential primary in Utah, he got almost 90 percent of the vote.
Mr. Huntsman, on the other hand, succeeded where Mr. Romney never ventured. He got elected to office in Utah -- twice as governor, in 2004 and 2008. In the 2008 election, in particular, his popularity was overwhelming, winning with 78 percent of the vote. Indeed, 36 percent of Utah voters who identified themselves as Democrats voted for him that year, according to an Edison-Mitofsky exit poll.