Cheryl Senter, Associated Press
Republican presidential candidate, former Utah Gov. Jon Huntsman speaks at a town hall meeting in Thornton, N.H., Saturday, Dec. 31, 2011.

DERRY, N.H. — Campaigning alone in New Hampshire, Republican presidential hopeful Jon Huntsman says Iowa plays an important role in winnowing the field, but it will be New Hampshire that sends a message about which candidate is most electable.

The former Utah governor is skipping Tuesday's Iowa caucuses and has been focused only on New Hampshire, wwhile other candidates are mostly focused on Iowa. New Hampshire holds the first primary Jan. 10. After a town hall meeting in Derry Sunday, Huntsman told reporters that Iowa plays an important role in narrowing the field, and that Rick Santorum's recent rise there shows that traditional grassroots campaigning is still important. But he said it will be New Hampshire that sets the standard going forward.

Huntsman has been making modest gains there.