First, the expected . . . Jon Huntsman is dropping out of the race. The writing has been on the wall for weeks on this part of the news. Huntsman never had national polling over 3 or 4 % and the fact that he didn’t (couldn’t) “play” in Iowa or South Carolina and put all his proverbial eggs in the New Hampshire basket did not bode well for the former Utah Governor/Ambassador to China. But finishing a distant third in New Hampshire earlier this week was really the nail in the Huntsman campaign’s coffin. Story here:
CHARLESTON, S.C. — Jon M. Huntsman Jr. informed his advisers on Sunday that he intends to drop out of the Republican presidential race, ending his candidacy a week before he had hoped to revive his campaign in the South Carolina primary.
Mr. Huntsman, who had struggled to live up to the soaring expectations of his candidacy, made plans to make an announcement as early as Monday. He had been set to participate in an evening debate in Myrtle Beach.
Now the “less-than-expected” part which caught me totally off-guard, especially given the rocky history between the two (second and more detailed source here) Geraldo and Carl Cameron on Fox News just mentioned that this even caught the Romney Campaign Staff off-gaurd as well:
Matt David, campaign manager to Mr. Huntsman, confirmed the decision in an interview Sunday evening. “The governor and his family, at this point in the race, decided it was time for Republicans to rally around a candidate who could beat Barack Obama and turn around the economy,” Mr. David said. “That candidate is Gov. Mitt Romney.”
This source says the Press Conference will be at 11AM tomorrow.
Team Romney will gladly accept and appreciate this gracious endorsement from Governor Huntsman. This will also allow Huntsman Sr to be free to endorse Mitt (which he did in 2008) and I’m sure Mitt’s Super PAC will start to see some money flowing from the Huntsman’s way. That sure can’t hurt, eh? This will be an extra boost before tomorrow’s debate where I’m sure it will be mentioned. The Romney Train is picking up steam . . . time to get on board folks!!
~Addendum from Ross
VIDEO for the announcement and endorsement