Huntsman likely to come home & seek governorship

Jon Huntsman

In criticizing a story about former Gov. Jon Huntsman, now ambassador to Russia, on CNN, former Utah First Lady Mary Kaye Huntsman confirmed what first reported some time ago: That the Huntsman family will leave the ambassadorship this fall.

On her Facebook page, Mrs. Huntsman said: “Our announcement (on leaving the ambassadorship) will be coming soon, and I’m sure we’ll at that point say goodbye to many friends (in Russia) before we leave….”

The CNN story said that the Huntsmans were conducting a “farewell tour” of Russia, saying goodbye to various folks and embassy staff.

Mrs. Huntsman denies there has been any “farewell tour,” and it was wrong for CNN to so report.

The CNN story comes on the heels of another story that says when President Donald Trump called Russia President Vladimir Putin on the phone the other day concerning U.S. help in fight massive wild fires in Russia (Putin turned his help down), the pair discussed how Huntsman will be replaced as ambassador upon his anticipated resignation.

All this leads, of course, to further confirmation that the Huntsmans are preparing to return to Utah in the fall.

And once here, it is likely that Huntsman will announce that he will run for governor again in 2020 – a topic that broached months ago.

Republican Jon Huntsman Jr., oldest son of the late billionaire/philanthropist Jon Huntsman Sr., ran for governor in 2004, winning rather easily. He won a second term in 2008, but in early 2009 he resigned to become ambassador to China under then-Democratic President Barack Obama.

Huntsman Jr. ran for president in 2012, ultimately getting out of the race before Mitt Romney won the GOP nomination. (Romney then lost to Obama.)

Now Romney is a U.S. senator from Utah, winning easily in 2018. And that Romney landslide provided a precedent Huntsman, too, could return to Utah after serving elsewhere to regain his governorship – which ended early because of his China call to duty.

The Salt Lake Chamber of Commerce had Dan Jones & Associates conduct a poll of the governor’s race next year, which showed that among Republicans current Lt. Gov. Spencer Cox leads Huntsman, 45 percent to 34 percent. Only registered Republicans can vote in the closed GOP primary.