Joe Raedle/Getty Images
Former Utah Gov. Jon Huntsman speaks as he announces that he will drop out of the race for the White House bid and endorse Mitt Romney January 16, 2012 in Myrtle Beach, South Carolina.
Today in Myrtle Beach, South Carolina, Jon Huntsman announced he’s ending his campaign for president of the United States in 2012. Rumors of such a move were circulating on Sunday, and several political critics have felt Huntsman’s candidacy was a long-shot from the beginning.
During today’s speech, Huntsman called for more civility in the election process by denouncing attack ads, even though within the last eight days his media has focused negatively on fellow GOP moderate Mitt Romney. While the two men still have wide policy gaps, it came as no surprise to analysts that Huntsman endorsed Romney over his other rivals, citing his electability. Polls show Romney stands the best chance to beat Barack Obama in the general election and Huntsman’s endorsement could open the door to a decent job offer in the White House.
Meanwhile, the group of Evangelical leaders and social conservatives who met over the week in Texas announced they’re backing Rick Santorum, whose conservative values reflect their own.
Is the GOP field now a two-man race between Romney and Santorum? How does Huntsman’s departure affect Gingrich and Perry? Ron Paul could benefit from the Independents who were drawn to Huntsman, where does he stand in all this? Who’s your candidate and why?
Tim Lefever, Chairman of the Board, Capitol Resource Institute (CRI) in Sacramento
Arnold Steinberg, a veteran political strategist and analyst