Republican presidential candidate Jon Huntsman will drop his bid for nomination and endorse Mitt Romney during a speech in Myrtle Beach according to campaign spokesman Tim Miller.
Many may have been caught by surprise by this drastic about turn, Huntsman had vowed to stay in the race despite a third-place finish in Iowa, insisting that he had a ‘ticket to ride’ into South Carolina.
However, he was never really in the competition to begin with nationally polling around 4-5% at best.
In fact, his decision to drop out of the race highlights what was best about him as a candidate, he’s an intelligent and level-headed realist that put his country (and in this case his party before himself).
Huntsman didn’t drop out because of a lack of funds, quite the opposite; the Huntsman campaign was finally attracting the kind of donations and support that could enable him to fight out the nomination process.
Instead, he left the race because in the words of a close supporter, “he didn’t want to stand in the way of the person who is going to be the nominee.”
Huntsman realised that front-runner Mitt Romney above all his competitors has the greatest chance of defeating President Barack Obama, and knowing he stood little chance of being the GOP nominee, stood aside so that his runnig did not handicap Romney.
A highly-respected moderate Republican with an impressive political background, a manner that is pleasant, and good appeal among Independents and Democrats, Jon Huntsman was feared by the Obama Administration (particularly ex-Chief of Staff Rahm Emanuel), and did have his moment in the national spotlight; unfortunately for his presidential bid, the late winter of 2009.
He make a national name for himself in 2009 as a voice of moderation, calling on Republicans to react to Obama’s election by reforming and modernizing. The message had little traction on the right, but it scared the Obama White House, which saw him as a formidable candidate for president, and sent him to China to keep him out of the mix.
Known as a cool, cerebral diplomat who loves progressive rock and riding motorcross Jon Huntsman’s campaign was probably a better idea than it was a reality, especially in a GOP field that increasingly looking to appease the Tea Party-driven hard right of the party.
His campaign didn’t have much of an impact on the national scene, and is endorsement of Romney won’t likely either. If Huntsman is to make an impact on US politics it will be as Secretary of State, a position he is rumored to be in the running for under both Obama and Romney.
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While Huntsman took awhile to see that his campaign was hopeless, Jon Stewart was under no such illusions