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Jon Huntsman Coming to Portsmouth Tonight

WMUR first reported the news, and an assistant to the former GOP presidential candidate confirmed the visit this afternoon.

Former GOP presidential candidate Jon Huntsman will meet with supporters in Portsmouth on Friday night, his assistant confirmed this afternoon.

The news was first reported by WMUR's James Pindell, who said Huntsman would be attending a dinner at the home of Renee Reidel and Dan Plummer.

Ryan Smith, an assistant to the former Utah governor, told Portsmouth Patch on Friday afternoon that Huntsman had a long-standing invitation from Reidel, who was "a great friend" throughout his presidential campaign.

"He had some time on his schedule to come visit and say hi and more or less thank them for all the work they did on the campaign," Smith said. "Honestly, it was supposed to be a real low-key thing. It was more or less a thank you to everyone who was so helpful to him. He loves the state, and wanted to come back. It was a good time for his schedule."

Huntsman is one of many potential candidates rumored to be in the running for the Republican presidential nomination in 2016. A University of New Hampshire/WMUR poll released last week showed that 8 percent of likely Republican Primary voters polled plan to vote for Huntsman if he runs. He finished third in the 2012 New Hampshire Primary, behind Mitt Romney and Ron Paul.

His visit to Portsmouth comes on the heels of his announcement on Thursday in an op-ed piece for The American Conservative that he supports gay marriage.

But Smith warned about taking Huntsman's visit as a sign that he's planning to run for president in 2016.

"We're (three) years away," he said. "It's a long time. I wouldn't read anything into it."

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