Don’t expect to see Jon Huntsman campaigning for Mitt Romney at all this year.
Huntsman, a moderate Republican who dropped out of the GOP primary after placing third in do-or-die New Hampshire, officially endorsed Romney but then criticized the front-runner’s China policy in an interview on MSNBC. Since then, he hasn’t been very visible, and he was even disinvited from a Republican National Committee party last month after saying, again on MSNBC, that a third-party candidate should jump in the race.
Now it looks as if Huntsman is gone for good. His daughter Abby Livingston, who also worked actively on his campaign, tells ABC News that the former Utah governor won’t be involved with Romney’s campaign at all in the general election against President Obama.
“My dad is not a surrogate for Romney and will not be out stumping for him in the general,” she said in an email. “He is enjoying private life.”
Livingston said Huntsman still plans to vote for Romney and stands by his endorsement.
Huntsman is perhaps the closest you can get to a Romney clone. They’re both former governors, moderate Republicans, Mormons and rich. They also have ties to Obama – Huntsman was his ambassador to China, and Romney’s health care plan in Massachusetts was used as a model for “Obamacare.”
When he dropped out of the race and endorsed Romney in January, Huntsman said that “it’s now time for our party to unite around the candidate best equipped to beat Barack Obama.”
Maybe he’ll return to the scene in 2016.