Jon Huntsman For Senate?

Jon Huntsman, who served as Governor of Utah and U.S. Ambassador to China, and ran for President in 2012, is mulling a bid for the U.S. Senate in 2018:

Former Utah Governor Jon Huntsman said he’s weighing a run for the U.S. Senate in 2018, depending in part on whether fellow Republican Orrin Hatch decides to seek an eighth term.

“I’ve always said that I’ve got one more run left in our bones. And I don’t know what that will be. But I love this country,” Huntsman, 56, told co-hosts Scott Lanman and Daniel Moss on Bloomberg’s “Benchmark,” a weekly podcast on the global economy.

“We’re going to take a good look at maybe a future Senate run in the state of Utah,” said Huntsman, who was elected twice as governor, was President Barack Obama’s U.S. ambassador to China and made an unsuccessful run for the Republican presidential nomination in 2012.

Hatch, 82, had previously said his current six-year term would be his last, but he toldRoll Call after Donald Trump’s election that “circumstances have greatly changed” and he’ll reconsider running again.

Huntsman said his decision “in part would be based on what Senator Hatch chooses to do,” and poked at the chamber’s senior Republican for his four decades in office. Hatch is chairman of the Finance Committee and previously was head of the Judiciary Committee.

“He’s been a productive senator for nearly half a century,” Huntsman told the podcast on Monday. “I’m somebody personally who believes in term limits. I always have. You get in, do your job, you get out.”

“But time will tell,” said Huntsman, who made clear he would run as a Republican if he decides to seek the office.

Huntsman left office as Governor of Utah with a fairly high popularity rating, and apparently remains well-regarding among Utah Republicans notwithstanding his disastrous Presidential campaign. He would, I think, make a fine addition to the Senate if he ends up running. As for Hatch, he’s served in office for more than forty years now and long past the “Sell By” date. It’s time for him to retire.

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Doug Mataconis
About Doug Mataconis
Doug Mataconis held a B.A. in Political Science from Rutgers University and J.D. from George Mason University School of Law. He joined the staff of OTB in May 2010 and contributed a staggering 16,483 posts before his retirement in January 2020. He passed far too young in July 2021.


  1. James Joyner says:

    I’d prefer him as Secretary of State but guess the Senate isn’t so bad.

  2. @James Joyner:

    Yea, he would be well-suited to Secretary of State.

  3. Neil Hudelson says:

    @Doug Mataconis: @James Joyner:

    I think the Senate needs Republicans who will actually oppose Trump’s worst excesses. Huntsman strikes me as that person. I get that having competent people in administration posts might curb Trump’s basest impulses, but I’m doubtful.

  4. Gustopher says:

    Sure, why not? He’s way, way too the right of me, but he’s sane.

    I’m not convinced that he will stand up to his party’s leadership often, but he won’t make things worse. And, when the Democrats are in charge again, he won’t oppose just to oppose.

  5. rachel says:

    I didn’t always agree with him when he was my governor (see the school voucher law*), but he never took his job lightly. I hope he gets Hatch’s Senate seat.

    *That money would have been better spent on improving public education, which has only gotten worse since I went through the schools there.