Huntsman Drops Out

January 27, 2012 by staff 

Huntsman Drops Out, Former Utah Gov. Jon Huntsman withdrew from the Republican presidential race Monday and endorsed front-runner Mitt Romney, providing a potentially pivotal potential boost for the former Massachusetts governor.

Huntsman made the announcement in South Carolina, site of the critical first Southern primary this Saturday. His decision could provide an extra cushion of votes for Romney, who is facing stiff conservative competition from Rick Santorum and Newt Gingrich.

“Our campaign for the presidency ends, but our campaign for a (better) American continues,” Huntsman declared. “I believe it is now time for our party to unite around the candidate best equipped to defeat Barack Obama. Despite our differences and the space between us on some of the issues, I believe that candidate is Gov. Mitt Romney.”

Huntsman urged the remaining candidates to stop attacking each other, warning that “the current toxic form of our political discourse does not help our cause.”

“This race has degenerated into an onslaught of negative and personal attacks not worthy of the American people and not worthy of this critical time,” he said.

Romney’s campaign already is bolstered by a huge campaign war chest and a wave of momentum after wins in Iowa and New Hampshire. It’s hoping for a possible knockout blow with a first place finish in the Palmetto State. South Carolina has picked the winner of every GOP presidential nomination fight since 1980.

“Governor Huntsman did not want to stand in the way of the candidate best prepared to beat Barack Obama and turn our economy around. That’s Mitt Romney,” a senior Huntsman campaign official told CNN.

The endorsement represents a notable shift for Huntsman. He recently declared Romney “completely unelectable” during an interview on CNBC.

“Jon Huntsman made a basic calculation here, let’s be honest,” said CNN Chief National Correspondent John King. “If you look at the polling, he’s doing miserable in South Carolina. He’s not going to win the state next Saturday and so if he wants to run in 2016 … this is a chance … to try to get a little bit of goodwill in the party, a little bit of leverage.”

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