The Ticket

Santorum joins Huntsman to boycott Nevada campaign events

The Ticket

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Santorum (Scott Eells/AP)

How far are candidates really willing to go to boycott Nevada?

Presidential candidate Rick Santorum this weekend joined Jon Huntsman in canceling his Nevada campaign events this week to protest the state's decision to move up its caucus vote to a much earlier spot on the primary calendar. Santorum spokesman Hogan Gidley announced the reasoning behind his boss's decision in a statement:

While Senator Santorum appreciates the hospitality of the people of Nevada, he is concerned that Nevada's decision encroaches on Iowa and New Hampshire's election calendar and may push them into the Christmas season.  Senator Santorum continues to hold out hope that cooler heads will prevail and Nevada will simply move their caucus back a few days to allow a semblance of sanity to be reinstated into the primary process.  Once this occurs, Senator Santorum greatly looks forward to returning to the Silver State.

Santorum, former Utah Gov. Huntsman, former House Speaker Gingrich, and Minnesota Rep. Michele Bachmann last week threatened to boycott the Nevada caucus to protest the state's decision to hold its caucus on Jan. 14. The earlier Nevada date threatens the scheduling plans for the first-in-the-nation Iowa caucuses and New Hampshire primary. Cain this weekend added his name to the list threatening a Nevada caucus boycott.

But Huntsman immediately went further, saying he would sit out the Oct. 18 Nevada debate, which is sponsored by CNN, and instead hold a town hall in New Hampshire. Santorum has now canceled his events this week in favor of at least one event scheduled for Des Moines, Iowa.

But boycotting the caucus is as far as the other candidates have been willing to go.

Gingrich's campaign told The Ticket Friday the candidate has no plans to sit out Tuesday's debate, and Bachmann spokeswoman Alice Stewart didn't respond to a request for comment and has not publicly spelled out the terms of Bachmann's caucus boycott.

The rest of the field has not jumped on the boycott bandwagon. Former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney, who remains highly popular in the state of Nevada, plans to open his Nevada campaign headquarters Monday.

Correction: An earlier version of this story incorrectly stated Santorum had chosen to sit out the Nevada debate. He remains scheduled to participate.

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