Perhaps the two most outspoken national figures in recent months who might broadly be categorized as centrist Republicans are Huntsman and Colin Powell, but each man’s abilities to impact the post-election debate is questionable.
Earlier this month, No Labels — the 501(c)(4) group that promotes bipartisan problem-solving — announced in its re-launch that Huntsman would serve as its co-chair. On cable TV and along the speaking circuit, the former Utah governor has been a frequent critic of Republican obstinacy.
But as a former presidential candidate who generated plenty of early media attention but little enthusiasm among primary voters in his short-lived campaign, Huntsman appears to have a limited ability to reshape the GOP going forward, at least for the time being.
Still, Mark McKinnon — a No Labels co-founder and former campaign adviser to George W. Bush and John McCain — said he is optimistic about forces within the Republican Party that are moving in the “right direction,” including several governors and Florida Sen. Marco Rubio, who has pushed for immigration reform.
But McKinnon is under no illusions about the obstacles that centrist Republicans face.