Jon Huntsman jumped out to an early lead in the New Hampshire primary (2 votes!), but got more bad news when his application for the Arizona ballot was rejected.
Six Republican voters cast ballots in the tiny New Hampshire village of Dixville Notch this morning, the home of the traditional "first in the nation" polling place that opens and close just after midnight on election day. Huntsman and Romney each received two votes, while Newt Gingrich and Ron Paul got one, leaving the primary standings there until 8:00 p.m. tonight when the polls close everywhere else. (President Obama got 3 votes on the Democratic side.)
But while his campaign will certainly celebrate that news, it got an embarrassing slap in the face from Arizona where election officials announced that Huntsman failed to qualify for their primary next month. The reason why is even more embarrassing: He forgot to sign the paperwork.
Unlike Virginia, where both Newt Gingrich and Rick Perry failed to get on the ballot, Arizona doesn't even require candidates to get any petitions or voter signatures. All you had to do was turn in a two-page application by 5:00 p.m. yesterday — Hunstman's camp turned his in just two hours before the deadline — with the candidate's notarized signature. It might be the easiest state requirement in the nation, yet it tripped up his campaign in a state where Huntsman might have had a outside chance of winning all 29 of its delegates. (Arizona borders his home state of Utah and allows independents to vote in the primary.) Now he'll have to mount a legal challenge to be included on a ballot alongside the 23 other Republicans who successfully applied.
In the end, it remains to be seen if Huntsman's disorganized campaign will still be alive by then. Arizonans don't vote until February 28, after six more primaries and caucuses are held and after six more weeks of campaign funds are spent. If he doesn't turn things around quickly (that means today) he'll likely have to drop out before then.