UtahPolicy.com has learned former Ambassador and Gov. Jon Huntsman told attendees at a “fireside chat” on Wednesday night he would make his decision about running for another term as Utah governor within the next “two to three weeks.”
According to multiple sources, Huntsman said he will decide on whether to seek a return to the governor’s mansion by mid-November. However, he did not say when he might make a public declaration about his intentions. Huntsman has acknowledged he is weighing a bid for governor next year after leaving his post as Ambassador to Russia. In April, UtahPolicy.com was the first to report that Huntsman may return to Utah to run again for governor. He met with supporters about a potential run for governor during a visit to Utah in June for the birth of a grandchild.
According to those in attendance at the event, the “room was packed” with supporters and well-wishers who were “excited” about his potential gubernatorial run next year.
A spokesperson for Huntsman confirmed his attendance at the event on Wednesday, and said an announcement about running in 2020 would likely be forthcoming “sometime in November.”
If Huntsman does enter the race, he would immediately become one of the favorites given his name recognition and sizeable financial resources available to him. An August Utah Political Trends survey found 47% of Utahns would like to see Huntsman return to Utah and run for governor again, while 37% said they would not.
Huntsman was elected twice as governor in 2004 and 2008 before resigning his post to become U.S. Ambassador to China under President Barack Obama.
So far, three Republicans have jumped into the race: Lt. Gov. Spencer Cox, Provo businessman Jeff Burningham and Salt Lake County Councilwoman Aimee Winder Newton. Former House Speaker Greg Hughes, retiring Rep. Rob Bishop, real estate executive Thomas Wright and businessman Spence Eccles are also said to be considering a run for governor next year.