Buzz Grows Around Huntsman Presidential Run

By: - January 31, 2011 12:00 am

The list of current and former Republican governors thought to be considering a run for the presidency next year is long and growing.

Sarah Palin of Alaska, Mitt Romney of Massachusetts, Mike Huckabee of Arkansas and Tim Pawlenty of Minnesota, each of whom spent time as governors, along with current incumbents Haley Barbour of Mississippi and Mitch Daniels of Indiana, all are rumored to be considering presidential campaigns.

Now, another Republican in that category one who is currently part of the Obama foreign service team is strongly considering a run for the White House, according to several news outlets. Former Utah Governor Jon Huntsman Jr. is laying the groundwork for a spring exit from the Obama administration, where he now serves as the U.S. ambassador to China, to concentrate on challenging his boss at the polls in 2012, Politico reports .

“Over the holidays,” Politico reports, “the ex-governor met with Sen. John McCain, whose 2008 presidential run Huntsman backed early on. In a discussion with the senator, who is the ranking member of the Armed Services Committee, about a variety of issues, Huntsman made plain that he was eyeing a White House campaign in the near term, according to a source close to the senator.”

Huntsman was a popular one-term governor and is a former executive of a chemical company founded by his father, Jon Huntsman Sr., who is one of Utah’s most famous business figures and philanthropists. The former governor is seen as one of the biggest threats to Obama not only because of his extensive business and government experience in the United States, but because of his foreign service credentials, which many other governors lack. Besides serving as U.S. ambassador to China, Huntsman was the ambassador to Singapore under President George H.W. Bush. 

For Stateline coverage of Huntsman’s inauguration as Utah governor in 2005, click here

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