Jon Huntsman

May 2011 Update:  Huntsman is fresh off of his ambassadorship inChinaand has begun to make the presidential rounds.  He’s already scored the endorsement of a popular former governor inSouth Carolina, a state that every eventual GOP nominee has won during the primaries.  Many are saying that the moderate Huntsman is the candidate that President Obama most fears.  Unfortunately, that general election strength may be a liability in the primaries.  Hopefully we will see if Huntsman joins the race soon.

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March 2011 Update:  Huntsman is still working for the country and the Obama Administration until the end of April.  Being in a nonpolitical role as an ambassador for our country, it would be bad form for him to engage in any campaign activities before his resignation is effective.  It is reported however that a campaign team is in place and waiting for its leader.  For this reason I moved Huntsman up slightly in the rankings.

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Huntsman is near the bottom of my list only because he is not well known.  Interestingly, he would be the second Mormon in the race, which I think would make it the first to feature two Latter-Day Saints candidates.  Ambassador Huntsman has sent President Obama his resignation letter and many insiders expect that he will announce his candidacy after the effective date of April 30.  Huntsman is known for bucking his party establishment which may make a primary bid tough, but take that and combine it with his mix of business and forein policy experience, I think he’d make a formidable opponent to the president.  I have summarized his advantages and disadvantages below.

Huntsman’s Advantages

  • Popular two-term governor of a “red state”
  • Business background (including international business experience)
  • Foreign policy credentials (good understanding of China and its culture; their role on the world stage will only grow in coming years)

Huntsman’s Disadvantages

  • Mormon faith
  • Relatively unknown
  • Supports civil unions (Republican primary disadvantage only)
  • Accepted stimulus money with open arms (mixed bag)
  • Criticized congressional Republicans and their tactics in 2009 (Republican primary disadvantage)
  • Worked for the Obama Administration (mixed bag in the general, definite disadvantage in Republican primary)

More to come on Huntsman as his potential candidacy develops.  Feel free to join the Discourse.

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