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