* Romney to dominate rivals in cash, but by how much?
* Utah battleground for two men with Mormon, business ties
By Kim Dixon
WASHINGTON, June 29 U.S. Republican
presidential hopeful Jon Huntsman is racing to find moderate
Republican donors who have not been caught up in frontrunner
Mitt Romney's fundraising juggernaut, which shows no signs of
Huntsman, President Barack Obama's former ambassador to
China and former Utah governor, is battling Romney for the role
of the business-friendly moderate in the race for the
Republican nomination, appealing to similar types of voters and
But Huntsman lacks national name recognition, and with less
than 2 percent support in the polls, he will need to make a
strong showing in the money chase to break through.
Both Romney and Huntsman are Mormons, with deep roots in
Utah where the church is based, and have been vying for support
there as well as across the country.
Huntsman was a popular governor, and his family is well
known, thanks to his billionaire father, Jon Sr, co-founder of
chemical company Huntsman Corp (HUN.N) and a major donor to the
University of Utah.
Romney, former governor of Massachusetts and co-founder of
private equity firm Bain Capital, has strong ties to Wall
Street and a huge head start. Second quarter campaign
fundraising figures to be released soon are expected to show he
has amassed millions more than any other Republican.
One corporate convert from Romney to Huntsman, Lew Cramer,
who is president of the Utah World Trade Center, summed up a
general impression of the two men.
"They are both rich, handsome, warm and have good hair,"
said Cramer, who worked with Huntsman at the Commerce
Department. "But what I particularly like about Jon Huntsman is
his international experience."
While many big Republican donors are either on the fence
or supporting Romney, Huntsman has received some Wall Street
backing from John Mack, chairman of Morgan Stanley (MS.N).
RACE FOR CASH
In the race for cash ahead of the end of the quarter, which
ends on Thursday, Romney this week travels to New York,
Philadelphia and Washington, D.C., while Huntsman will hit New
York, Chicago and Michigan, among other venues.
Although President Barack Obama is likely to raise more
than any Republican candidate, some experts predict Romney
could raise between $20 million to $30 million in the second
quarter. He has been been fundraising virtually non-stop since
his failed bid for the party's 2008 nomination and and could be
almost impossible to match on the Republican money trail.
Huntsman has not said whether he will release a
fund-raising report, since he is not obligated to, after
joining the race just last week. A strong performance could
show whether jumps to the top tier of candidates.
Huntsman's campaign has not released many figures, but he
did raise $1.2 million at a fundraising event on his first day
as a candidate at a New York dinner.
"Romney is the front runner given that the only way to
superficially critique the race is polling, money and
endorsements," said Ed Rogers, a Republican consultant who
worked under former presidents Ronald Reagan and George H.W.
Bush. "Republicans are very hierarchical and we always tend to
favor the frontrunner."
Romney has won back some big name backers from his 2008 run
for the nomination, including former Ebay Inc (EBAY.O) chief
executive Meg Whitman, who will serve as a fundraising chair.
Joel Peterson, a Utah-based venture capitalist and chairman
of JetBlue Airways (JBLU.O), said "100 percent" of those he
approached from the last election cycle are staying with
"As someone who knows both, I'm backing Mitt," he said. "He
knows how to give businesses confidence, stability, a
regulatory environment that's predictable."
(Additional reporting by Patricia Zengerle; Editing by Vicki