Huntsman challenges party, will not attend GOP convention
July 6th, 2012
01:44 PM ET
2 years ago

Huntsman challenges party, will not attend GOP convention

(CNN) – In an act of protest, Jon Huntsman will not attend the Republican national convention this August in Tampa.

The former Republican presidential hopeful, Utah governor and ambassador to China said in a statement that he won't participate in the convention or others in the future until his fellow conservatives start tackling the bigger issues.

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Huntsman said that despite being asked repeatedly about his attendance, this year's convention will be the first he has not attended since serving as a delegate for Ronald Reagan in 1984.

"I will not be attending this year's convention, nor any Republican convention in the future, until the party focuses on a bigger, bolder, more confident future for the United States – a future based on problem solving, inclusiveness, and a willingness to address the trust deficit, which is every bit as corrosive as our fiscal and economic deficits," Huntsman said in a statement, reported first by the Salt Lake Tribune.

Huntsman, who garnered two delegates with his third place finish in New Hampshire, released his delegates to Mitt Romney when he endorsed the frontrunner after ending his presidential bid.

Huntsman, reiterating the theme of "Country First" from his presidential campaign said, "I encourage a return to the party we have been in the past, from Lincoln right on through to Reagan, that was always willing to put our country before politics."

Huntsman is the first of Romney's former rivals from the Republican primaries to indicate they would not attend the convention. But a smattering of other Republicans have already indicated they will not be there.

Former Virginia Governor George Allen announced last week that he would not attend the convention due to the heated Virginia Senate race he's engaged in. Heather Wilson and Rep. Denny Rehberg, both GOP Senate candidates in New Mexico and Montana respectively also will not attend the convention to focus on their own races.

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soundoff (54 Responses)
  1. AlwaysRight

    How many democrats aren't going to the dem convention because they don't believe obama is good for the country? 9? 10? 11? Whatever the number, not a word from CNN. One RHINO says he's not going, and that's news on CNN.

    July 6, 2012 01:47 pm at 1:47 pm |
  2. Governor 47th in Job Creation (excluding jobs off-shored to China)

    The one guy that ran that could've been a serious challenge...and the GOP did not want him. Their loss, actually our loss - John Huntsman is a decent man that I respect. He needs to keep front and center on the political scene.

    July 6, 2012 01:49 pm at 1:49 pm |
  3. cali ha ha

    Please support not supporting republicans until the deliver anything on jobs. Any job outside of marketing a false prophet know as mitt robbed me.

    July 6, 2012 01:50 pm at 1:50 pm |
  4. Randall

    Whoa, the Republican Party just yanked his membership! Tell it like it is, bro.

    July 6, 2012 01:52 pm at 1:52 pm |
  5. Emmittkitty

    Dang, I wish Huntsman was the Republican nominee ...makes Romney look even more lame and cowardly.

    July 6, 2012 01:54 pm at 1:54 pm |
  6. Anonymous

    Who's John Huntsman?

    July 6, 2012 01:54 pm at 1:54 pm |
  7. One time Rpublican

    The only Republican candiate who I would have considered voting for, a smart and intelligent one. Sorry Jon, but you are too sane for this current group of Republicans. I am glad you can say what you feel. My advice, hold your ground, your time will come one day.

    July 6, 2012 01:55 pm at 1:55 pm |
  8. Jayson

    Time to stop claiming your a Republican and just go Independent. If your claiming to be a Conservative you need to stop claiming that

    July 6, 2012 01:56 pm at 1:56 pm |
  9. vic , nashville ,tn

    Thanks Jon Huntsman
    Republicans or Romney don’t want to talk about big issues, they knew if they try to tackle those issues it will alienate their base. Obama already proposed right ideas

    July 6, 2012 01:57 pm at 1:57 pm |
  10. Moderate Sean

    Though, I do not care for Gov. Huntsman's endorsement of Mitt Romney (The tool that he is), I must say he is one Republican (In name only) that just earned my respect!

    July 6, 2012 01:58 pm at 1:58 pm |
  11. California Gary

    This guy was the only serious and principled candidate in the Republican primary......and they totally dissed him. That tells you everything you need to know about the state of the GOP today.

    July 6, 2012 01:58 pm at 1:58 pm |
  12. Canuck

    Jon Huntsman is way too principled to belong to the current version of the GOP. Putting country before politics is not on the current agenda.

    July 6, 2012 01:58 pm at 1:58 pm |
  13. Malory Archer

    AlwaysRight

    How many democrats aren't going to the dem convention because they don't believe obama is good for the country? 9? 10? 11? Whatever the number, not a word from CNN. One RHINO says he's not going, and that's news on CNN.

    +++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++

    You're joking, right? That was exactly the topic all over these message boards last week.

    July 6, 2012 02:00 pm at 2:00 pm |
  14. Claudia, Houston, Tx

    In other words the "Grand Old Party" isn't what it used to be, it's been hijacked by the teabaggers and other extremist groups. They have no leader, the Republican party is like the "Headless Horseman".

    July 6, 2012 02:00 pm at 2:00 pm |
  15. Jerry

    Big deal! Mr. Huntsman, stay home and keep an eye on those gorgeous daughters.

    July 6, 2012 02:02 pm at 2:02 pm |
  16. cali ha ha

    @Always wrong
    There are about 5 that have said they are not going to the rnc convention. Fact aren't liberal. They are just facts.

    July 6, 2012 02:02 pm at 2:02 pm |
  17. Romney is not My Hero

    Can President Obama get Huntsman for his VP? This man is fantastic, intellegent and good looking (Umm Umm Good!!)

    OBAMA 2012!

    July 6, 2012 02:04 pm at 2:04 pm |
  18. Moderate Sean

    "AlwaysRight" – I guess you just cannot meet the qualifications for the name you have chosen as your tagline....You are mistaken, or as most others would say, you are WRONG!! I am no defender of CNN, but they have done stories on a number of Democrats (2 Dems from WV, 1 from Utah, and a few others) who have decided to stay in their respective districts or States to campaign this political season vice attending their convention. I guess reading more than conservative leaning blogs, or Faux News, might help you be a little more informed! That is all "Sometimes Wrong"!

    July 6, 2012 02:04 pm at 2:04 pm |
  19. Obamabus

    Sadly the only R I actually felt enthused about voting for. He dropped out before my state's primary. He has no shot at the VP position because Romney will be the nominee and there's no way they'll put two Mormons at the top of the ticket. I have no problem with the religion, but it's a simple fact. Hopefully he sticks around for the next election. He's a very smart man with impeccable credentials and a consistent record. Good luck Jon.

    July 6, 2012 02:08 pm at 2:08 pm |
  20. v_mag

    It's a pretty big indictment of the do-nothing, sit-on-their-hands-and-badmouth-the-president, defeat-Obama-at-any-cost Repugnant party for one of their presidential contenders to make a statement like this. He's betting that they will lose big-time and have to swing back to the center, where he will be waiting to lead them.

    July 6, 2012 02:08 pm at 2:08 pm |
  21. kenny

    While I am a Democrat, I fine Jon Huntsman to be the only sensible Republican left in the party. If I was going to vote for a Republican, he would be the one to get my vote. Problem is that he is not toxic enough for his party. In reality, he is about the only one left in the party with common sense and he has something many Republicans today seem to lack. He's got lots of smarts.

    July 6, 2012 02:09 pm at 2:09 pm |
  22. asdf

    huntsman probably didn't want to raise the average IQ in the room too high.

    July 6, 2012 02:09 pm at 2:09 pm |
  23. Tony Z

    Smart move. He understands that America needs to get its act together. I was sad to see him leave the Obama team as Ambassador to China, because he was seeing and meeting the challenges first hand. We need thinkers running this country not just political hawks.

    July 6, 2012 02:09 pm at 2:09 pm |
  24. Peter

    Excellent. Obama will win 2012, and Huntsman is setting himself up for 2016. I know I'd support him.

    July 6, 2012 02:12 pm at 2:12 pm |
  25. Rudy NYC

    Now Huntsman was the misfit in the clown show. But, he had his problems. He had to be absurdly naive to believe that he would get any Republican support after serving in the Obama administration. He learned the hard way, and in a most public fashion, that the party of Reagan that he once knew is extinct. Trying to revive is futile. Resistance to the new GOP is futile. Expecting the new GOP to do the right thing is futile.

    July 6, 2012 02:14 pm at 2:14 pm |
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