There could not have been more apt an epitaph. The once-promising campaign of former Utah Gov. Jon Huntsman came to an end within hours of his being endorsed by The Columbia State, South Carolina's largest and most influential newspaper, within days of that state's Republican primary.
The woman who wrote the State's endorsing editorial said she felt as if she'd been wooed and won and abandoned by her newly betrothed. Indeed, over the course of his campaign, Huntsman left more than a few journalists feeling jilted.
Jon Huntsman billed himself as the Harley-riding, mild-mannered candidate of civility. But his moderate positions never registered with Republican primary voters and left him languishing in the polls.
Huntsman, 51, ended his bid for the Republican presidential nomination Monday after struggling to keep pace in a largely conservative field. He also failed to distinguish himself as the Mitt Romney alternative, unable to escape the shadow of the other millionaire former governor and Mormon in the race.
Originally published on Mon January 16, 2012 10:01 am
Credit Emmanuel Dunand / AFP/Getty Images
Jon Huntsman staked his presidential campaign on New Hampshire and his bid to become a legitimate competitor on distinguishing himself from front-runner Mitt Romney. But less than a week after a disappointing third-place finish in the Granite State's GOP primary, Huntsman decided to quit the race and back Romney.
Huntsman will endorse Romney, officials said Sunday, because he believes Romney is the best candidate to beat President Obama in November. Campaign manager Matt David said Huntsman will announce his withdrawal at an event in Myrtle Beach, S.C.
To talk more about those opponents and what's happening on the campaign trail, we turn now to NPR's Cokie Roberts, who joins us most Mondays. Good morning, Cokie.
COKIE ROBERTS, BYLINE: Hi, Renee.
MONTAGNE: So let's - it looks like there's one less rival in the Republican contest, now that former Utah Governor Jon Huntsman is expected to drop out today and throw his support to Mitt Romney. Let's talk about the likely effect on the rest of the contenders.
It's just the first Republican primary. But a convincing win in New Hampshire should give former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney considerable momentum in his quest toward the GOP nomination.
With 95 percent of precincts reporting, Romney had more than 39 percent of the vote. Texas Rep. Ron Paul was solidly in second, with about 23 percent, while former Utah Gov. Jon Huntsman had secured third place, with nearly 17 percent of the vote.