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Huntsman resigns...possible presidential bid?

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Jon Huntsman Jr.

By Jenny Brundin

http://stream.publicbroadcasting.net/production/mp3/kuer/local-kuer-949593.mp3

Salt Lake City, UT – Jon Huntsman, the U.S. ambassador to China, submitted his letter of resignation to the White House yesterday. The former Utah governor announced he intends to leave the post April 30.

With the announcement, Jon Huntsman is now considered a possible presidential candidate. The 50-year-old Republican already has a fundraising PAC, a new home in Washington D.C. and his supporters are making calls to put together a campaign-in-waiting should he decide to run. Kirk Jowers, director of the University of Utah's Hinckley Institute of Politics, says it's unclear how Huntsman's moderate stance on issues like civil unions for gay couples and global warming would play in the Republican nomination process.

"If all of the candidates seem to be segregated into the Tea Party Republican camp," said Jowers, "he becomes become very interesting. If foreign policy becomes a major issue, that becomes interesting."

Jowers says on the negative side, Huntsman has a late start and lacks a nationwide fundraising base. Huntsman is also virtually unknown. Jowers said a 2012 bid could help his name recognition.

Jowers says the field of Republican nominees will play into Huntsman's decision. And, he says, there are new factors that make this election season different. The tea party, for one. Also, polls showing people don't want experience, they want something new. And, another nominee with Utah connections, Mitt Romney. He fits the historical Republican practice of finishing second in the last Republican nominating process, only to become the favorite nominee this time around.

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