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Huntsman campaign deep in debt

 

Updated 8 p.m. ET: NEW YORK -- Jon Huntsman's failed presidential campaign burned through his final few dollars in January before he dropped out of the race, leaving him with debt and IOUs to vendors.

In its January report released to the Federal Election Commission last night, the campaign showed that Huntsman ended his White House bid more than $5 million in debt -- with only $670.17 of cash on hand at the end of January. Huntsman exited the race on Jan. 16 after failing to gain traction following a third-place finish in New Hampshire.

In his final sprint to the New Hampshire and South Carolina primaries, Huntsman received $400,000 in largely individual contributions. He also loaned himself $50,000 in personal cash on Jan. 4, less than week before the New Hampshire primary. However, it wasn't enough. The Huntsman campaign spent about $560,000 in January.

The former Utah governor-turned-Ford executive board member owes a lot of people money. Most notably he owes Strategic Perceptions -- a media strategy group spearheaded by his campaign's former media adviser Fred Davis -- $355,000.

Many individuals still await paychecks from Huntsman, according to the FEC report.

Landon Parvin, a Republican speechwriter, is owed $27,500. Huntsman's New Hampshire state director, Sarah Crawford Stewart, is expecting $10,000. And about $8,000 is due to three of his top staffers:
-- national spokesman Tim Miller,
-- campaign manager Matt David
-- and advance man Conyers Davis.

Huntsman also owes senior strategist John Weaver's consulting firm TF/Weaver Strategies LLC more than $40,000.

Although Huntsman focused entirely on New Hampshire in the final stages of his campaign, he owes his senior South Carolina advisers Richard Quinn & Associates $55,806 in payments, after initially launching a three-state strategy that also included Florida. Other major debts include Grandslam Finance $241,500, law firm Arent Fox LLP $244,000, polling and consulting firm Ayres McHenry $99,000, Evolve Social Media $164,000, the Ingram Group $110,000 and Pacific Fundraising $81,000. He also owes several young campaign field staffers hundreds of dollars.

Huntsman's former campaign manager Matt David said that the former ambassador to China will repay his debt "aggressively."

"Governor Huntsman will be repaying his debt quickly," David told NBC News. "It's going to be a combination between fundraising and personal funds. We haven't really started the fundraising yet but we have already been moving aggressively on other fronts. Since the end of January and the FEC reporting period, we have paid all of the staff and many of the consultants."

Huntsman will conduct the fundraising via email solicitations and events in the coming weeks that are likely to remind voters that he has backed Mitt Romney. Huntsman has long been considered by many in the Republican party as an ideal secretary of state and a viable candidate for other cabinet level positions.

Following a vacation with his family and time away from the campaign trail, Huntsman has returned to Washington. He now serves on the board of Ford Motor Co. and Huntsman Corp. He also serves as the chairman of the Huntsman Cancer Foundation, established by his father, Jon Huntsman Sr., who contributed millions to fund his son's campaign efforts.