Jon Huntsman calls it quits

So Jon Huntsman is done, and has thrown his support to Mitt Romney.

Jon Huntsman 1-16-2012 (AP Photo)Not a shocker. Huntsman had put all his eggs in New Hampshire’s basket, which quickly Humpty-Dumptied his sorry self with a distant-third-place finish. Facing Armageddon this Saturday in the more Christian-conservativey South Carolina – where he was even trailing a made-up persona, although some might say all politicians are made-up personas – Huntsman decided to end the masochism this morning in Myrtle Beach.

“America is more divided than ever, and for our nation to move forward together with new leadership and unite, the Republican Party must first unite,” he says in a statement posted to his website. “Today I am suspending my campaign and supporting the candidate who is best-equipped to defeat the president and return conservative leadership to the White House: Governor Mitt Romney.”

Replied Romney, in a statement issued this morning: “I salute Jon Huntsman and his wife Mary Kaye. Jon ran a spirited campaign based on unity not division, and love of country. I appreciate his friendship and support.”

This leaves Romney, Newt Gingrich, Rick Santorum and Ron Paul to duke it out in the Palmetto State. I figure Romney continues his sweep and finishes first. As Gingrich and Santorum vie for the more conservative voters, whoever doesn’t finish second behind Romney will find it hard to march onward to Florida. Paul won’t care so much, as he’s apparently less concerned with winning and more with continuing to get his message out; in fact, a strong finish – buoyed by the younger voters that pushed him forward in Iowa and New Hampshire – could ensure he continues campaigning for quite some time to come.

UPDATE @ 1:43 P.M.: No, I didn’t mention Rick Perry. That’s because I believe his campaign to be…
Texas toast

Josh Richman

Josh Richman covers state and national politics for the Bay Area News Group. A New York City native, he earned a bachelor’s degree in journalism from the University of Missouri and reported for the Express-Times of Easton, Pa. for five years before coming to the Oakland Tribune and ANG Newspapers in 1997. He is a frequent guest on KQED Channel 9’s “This Week in Northern California;” a proud father; an Eagle Scout; a somewhat skilled player of low-stakes poker; a rather good cook; a firm believer in the use of semicolons; and an unabashed political junkie who will never, EVER seek elected office.

  • John W

    Too late to ask Obama for his old job back. It’s been filled.

  • RR, Senile Columnist

    His pretty daughters will be missed.

  • Truthclubber

    So it’s go, Jonny, go — out of the 2012 race.

    I suspect we’ll see you again in four years or less, Jonny — so be good, Jonny, be good!

    Peace out.

    Huntsman 2016.

  • Josh Richman

    “Huntsman 2016?” Hmmm. I suspect that, given what Huntsman has discovered this year about where the GOP’s head is at, Huntsman 2016 would bear about as much resemblance to Huntsman 2012 as McCain 2008 did to McCain 2000 – and probably with the same result.

  • Truthclubber

    Josh — I love ya, man, but if you think that Jon Huntsman would appoint someone like Sarah Palin as his VP, then I implore you to put down that Texas Toast you’re smoking…

    Huntsman is a social moderate and a fiscal conservative, and able to work constructively with members of the other side of the aisle, which is how I would describe the person the GOP WILL nominate this year — Willard — except that Willard has made so many changes to his positions to get the nod from the righties, he even calls himself Mitt these days…

  • Josh Richman

    Re #5: No, I wouldn’t foresee a Palin-like pick (which I think was more the GOP powers-that-be’s fault than McCain’s, anyway). What I meant is that – given Republican primary voters’ ever-increasing shunning of anything deemed “moderate” – I think Huntsman 2016 would have to “evolve” on some of the social issues in order to win votes, perhaps then leaving him open to criticism for going whichever way the wind blows.

  • Elwood

    Is Huntsman a member of the 1%?

    That’s about as high as he ever polled.

  • John W

    Huntsman was even more boring than Mitt. He might be hoping for Secretary of State in a Romney administration, but I think Romney doesn’t like him very much. For some reason, Obama saw him as a contender for 2012; so he tried to take him out of the picture by sending him to China. Huntsman returned the favor by using the China job to puff up his resume before coming home to run. I’d say Obama’s strategy worked better than Huntsman’s counter-strategy.

  • Elwood

    O’bummer is either a brilliant politician or has excellent advisers.

    First he chose Biden as his VP. There’s not enough money in the world to pay for a life insurance policy like that.

    Second he sent Hillary on a four year ’round the world diplomatic tour. Anybody know where the hell she is today?