Jon Huntsman To Enter Presidential Race Next Week

Former Utah Governor and Ambassador to China Jon Huntsman will be formally entering the race for President next Tuesday:

Former Utah Gov. Jon Huntsman will join the race for president next Tuesday.

“I intend to announce that I will be a candidate for the presidency a week from today,” Huntsman told an audience gathered for a China policy discussion with former Secretary of State Henry Kissinger on Tuesday afternoon in New York City.

Sources familiar with the plans told POLITICO Tuesday morning that Huntsman will announce at Liberty State Park in New Jersey, with the Statue of Liberty in the background. The park is the same site where Ronald Reagan formally kicked off his 1980 general election campaign.

Huntsman said that his time viewing the country from the outside while serving as U.S. ambassador to China helped convince him to run.

“As we have a very weak economic core, we are less able to project the goodness and the power and the might of the United States. We sit diminished and discounted at the negotiating table and everybody knows that,” Huntsman said. “We probably have a little bit of work here in our own backyard.”

Huntsman will follow the announcement with a tour of early states. From New Jersey, he’ll head to New Hampshire, South Carolina, Florida and Nevada before ending the week in Utah.

The announcement is not a surprise: Huntsman has been offering strong hints at a bid over the past two weeks, and has been campaigning in early states and aggressively courting donors over the past six weeks

But the former ambassador to China skipped Monday night’s presidential debate in New Hampshire, even though the first-in-the-nation primary state will likely be central to Huntsman’s bid.

Huntsman’s entry helps further solidify the Republican field, and adds a moderate voice who supported civil unions as governor and spent two years in China working for Barack Obama, the man he now hopes to run against.

Huntsman seems to be the favorite candidate of a lot of political pundits, or at least the guy they’re most convinced can become a force in the race. Maybe, but I’m not at all convinced that Huntsman is going to be able to break through his almost zero name recognition. Honestly, he strikes me more as a guy setting himself up for the Vice-Presidency or 2016. Stranger things have happened, though, so be prepared to get to know Jon Huntsman.


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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. Neil Hudelson says:

    For someone who hates it when Doug talks about Sarah Palin, you sure do like to try to hijack threads when she isn’t the subject matter.

    Getting back to Huntsman…

    I don’t see what he brings to the table, whether as a Pres candidate or a VP. Don’t get me wrong, I think the guy is smart, capable, likeable, and strikes me as a generally decent fellow. However his conservative creds aren’t near deep enough to win the nomination on that front, and he doesn’t have the name recognition to not need the conservative base.

    As far as VP selection goes, why would any candidate want him? His state and the states in his region are almost all going to go for the Republicans anyway (Colorado being an exception), he doesn’t balance a ticket for Romney or Pawlenty, and the conservative candidates who he could balance wouldn’t want him.