Sunday, January 15, 2012

Jon Huntsman To Drop Out of Presidential Campaign, Endorse Romney (Update: Done)

As I expected (though buried rather deep in my post about Mitt Romney), multiple sources report that Jon Huntsman is dropping out of the run, probably as early as tomorrow (just before the South Carolina primary), and will endorse Mitt Romney.

Politico has a good review of the situation, and includes a comment that it “was entirely a family decision.”  The family, it would seem, includes primarily his father, Utah billionaire and key campaign financier Jon Huntsman, Sr.

One cannot overlook the fact that this would give an enormous boost to Romney’s already leading campaign at a very precise moment.  (I am curious as to the level of coordination between the two campaigns about this.)  Combine this with: (1) the self-inflicted wounds of the Gingrich and Perry campaigns over the ‘vulture capitalism’ complaints about Romney’s Bain Capital – and by extension the nature of capitalism (the media view of which over-rides Romney’s inarticulate “I like being able to fire people . . .”; we will hear more of this from the Democrats in the near future); (2) Santorum’s currently stalled numbers in South Carolina; and (3) the fact that Romney has a well-prepared and -equipped ambush set in Florida, where the numbers presently indicate that he will win with significant numbers.

Whether you have viewed the air of inevitability about Romney winning the nomination with annoyance or not, it looks more certain that he has it.

Update:  And done. 
Former Utah Gov. Jon Huntsman, Jr. dropped out of the Republican presidential race Monday and endorsed former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney, but not before firing one last shot at the rest of the field, accusing them of running a race “not worthy of the American people.”
It is this negative atmosphere of the last-chance campaigns of Romney's competitors that is attracting the attention of likely voters, according to Rasmussen, but not to their benefit.  There is a solid movement toward Romney among Republicans and Independents, and a worsening of Obama's support on the issue of managing the economy.

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