Summer 2017 the Utah political world was all aflutter with rumors that Mitt Romney, the beloved chief of the successful 2002 Utah Winter Olympics and 2012 GOP presidential nominee, was considering a run for the U.S. Senate from Utah, to replace then-U.S. Sen. Orrin Hatch.
We had to wait. And wait. And wait, for Hatch to announce his retirement and for Romney to get in the race.
It wasn’t until December of that year before things started to shake out – Hatch was headed for the door and Romney was in the race.
This summer we are again waiting on pins on needles over whether former GOP Gov. Jon Huntsman Jr. is going to resign his Russian ambassadorship and return to Utah to run for governor in 2020.
Over the last few weeks the Utah political rumor mill has been running strong, resulting in erstwhile reporters like me and UtahPolicy.com Managing Editor Bryan Schott calling around to see if Huntsman is about to announce something.
Folks, he isn’t there yet.
First off, according to U.S. State Department rules, an ambassador can’t start a political campaign, can’t start fundraising, can’t even hire staff, until he formally resigns his post.
He has to be careful even talking about his political future.
He may softly test the waters, but just with his big toe, so to speak.
Huntsman and his wife Mary Kaye were in Utah several weeks ago for the births of one grandchild and a pair of grand twins, as UtahPolicy.com reported. During the visit, Huntsman met with political allies and supporters to discuss a potential 2020 run, but those conversations were described as extremely informal and very preliminary.