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Huntsman opens Florida campaign office

By John Couwels, CNN
  • Republican presidential hopeful opens campaign headquarter in battle ground Florida
  • His wife is an Orlando native
  • Huntsman notes importance of "I-4 corridor" in winning Florida

Orlando, Florida (CNN) -- Republican presidential candidate Jon Huntsman has opened his campaign office in the battle ground state of Florida.

After announcing his candidacy Tuesday, Huntsman the former Utah governor and the former ambassador to China, along with his wife Mary Kaye, cut a ribbon to signify the official opening of the Huntsman for President campaign headquarters' in downtown Orlando Thursday afternoon.

Huntsman said his wife -- an Orlando native -- was one reason he chose Orlando for his headquarters, though campaign strategy Huntsman said, "it's critically important."

Home to the "I-4 corridor" an area in the central region of the Florida that runs along Interstate 4 from Tampa to Daytona where people do not vote along party lines unlike the rest of the state.

"You have to win the I-4 corridor to be competitive beyond Florida so obviously that will be part of our focus. So having our campaign headquarters here is critically part of our strategy," said Huntsman to CNN.

The room was filled with friends, neighbors and classmates of Mary Kaye who grew up in Orlando.

"I always wanted to come back to Orlando," said Mary Kaye Huntsman. "Jon didn't know what to get me for my 50th birthday, so he said how about opening an office in Orlando."

Huntsman told the crowd his campaign would be focused on jobs, running a civil campaign by not putting down anyone and engaging the youth.

Talking to the young attendees Huntsman said, "Your going to be the recipients of every thing we do and the decisions that are made. We want to get you involved."

The candidate with salt and pepper hair said opening the first Republican presidential campaign headquarters in Florida was, "cool."

Part of his campaign's strategy to win said Huntsman is to "Start in New Hampshire and win it's way through South Carolina, and then we are going to come here."

The candidate was surrounded by five of their seven children including their young adopted daughter Asha from India who appeared to be taking notes of what her father was saying like the other reporters in the room.