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. Kansas Cowoby

    Would have been a great candidate, seems to have some personal integrity (which is why he never made it). Of course, just for standing up for what he believes in, this guy will be labeled a RINO or some other baloney. That is why I am just about out of the Republican party – I don't care at all about gay marriage or birth control pills, we need jobs and to get the deficit under control.

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

    Since he's the sane one, maybe he can get a third party going. We sure need one. The teo party system is a scam that has been run on us for years.

    July 6, 2012 02:19 pm at 2:19 pm |
  3. GROVER NORQUIST IS A ENEMY OF THE STATE/ConservaFASCISTS

    Although his economic policy is no different than any other conservative, at least he was the sane one out of the bunch.

    July 6, 2012 02:20 pm at 2:20 pm |
  4. Lionel

    John is a true patriot. I would have voted for him but unfortunately we are stuck with Robme my money and put in Swiss and Cayman island Mitt. The choice is clear, don't go back to the Bush era, let's move forward people.

    Obama / Biden 2012

    July 6, 2012 02:22 pm at 2:22 pm |
  5. Rico Sauve

    Jon Huntsman is jumping from the Insane Clown Posse bus! Jon come join the people's party, which is made up of all races!!

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

    The defections from both the Republican and Democratic conventions tells me that niether party has a grip on the situation and that both are in serious trouble and sense it. The Republican Party especially since they do not have the infighting and bickering that usually characterizes every Democratic Convention I can remember (since 1968) but they all usually walk in lock-step with the leadership applauding on cue, cheering on cue, well, everything on cue; therefore, two defectors is rather significant from their group. Defections from the Democratic Party Convention are rather matter-of-fact so no biggie – in 1964 almost all the former Confererate States marched out in unison.

    July 6, 2012 02:25 pm at 2:25 pm |
  7. Larry L

    This was the only common sense person offered by Republicans during the primary. He needs to become a Democrat – we need right-leaning moderates in the Party of Inclusion!

    July 6, 2012 02:32 pm at 2:32 pm |
  8. Be a True Leader

    American will vote for Jon Hunstman/Condi Rice as the 3rd Party Ticket over GOP candidate Mitt Romney or Democrat President Barack Obama. They are a only party which put American First.

    July 6, 2012 02:36 pm at 2:36 pm |
  9. Curt

    Too bad Huntsman did not get the nomination that Romney got. Definitely the smartest and most genuine of the bunch. Instead we have Romney, the man who's favorite line is that he would do it differently than Obama but never getting into specifics. And lets not forget that his stance on issues varies depending on which group he is pandering to. Maybe Huntsman should start a third party. Thats what the country needs. Obviously the present system with only two parties is not working.

    July 6, 2012 02:39 pm at 2:39 pm |
  10. The Other Dale

    Huntsman was the only Republican candidate that could have gotten the Independents and some Democrats behind him, because he wouldn't stick with the script the GOP handed him. Unfortunately, he wouldn't stick with the script, and thinking for yourself is a big no-no in Republican circles. They blew their chance there.

    July 6, 2012 02:41 pm at 2:41 pm |
  11. Namejkane fl SEND THE THREE TIME LOSER romney HOME AND MAKE IT FOUR.

    Torque Gop bafoon party is like the communist party of the old USSR ,walk in lock step ,party first ,country last ,that's why the failed ,just like the Gop bafoon party will fail with romnycare the clown ,mother of obamacare and romneycare,thanks dip !!!

    July 6, 2012 02:44 pm at 2:44 pm |
  12. Anonymous

    Good for him. Both parties are driving the nation into the ground; just from different angles.

    July 6, 2012 02:57 pm at 2:57 pm |
  13. Namejkane fl SEND THE THREE TIME LOSER romney HOME AND MAKE IT FOUR.

    Huntsman is the only Gop bafoon party canadate who might have been elected .instead the Gop morons pick romney the clown a sure loser ,money gets you no respect because we know how you got it ,out sourceing jobs to China and training other companies to do it !!!

    July 6, 2012 02:58 pm at 2:58 pm |
  14. MBG

    I voted for Obama in 2012. I still love him and think he's a good president. However, if Huntsman was the Republican Nominee - I would have seriously considered him. He just strikes me as a sincere person.

    July 6, 2012 03:03 pm at 3:03 pm |
  15. C-Monster

    As an Independent I am saddened by the GOP not considering him, I don't agree with him on everything but he is a smart guy.

    July 6, 2012 03:06 pm at 3:06 pm |
  16. Jeff Cox

    I heard Huntsman interviewed a few weeks ago on NPR and was quite impressed. At that time he mentioned Lincoln and how the current version of the Republican party has abandoned many of the principles espoused ... and demonstrated ... by Lincoln.

    Until some event becomes a catalyst for compromise, I'm afraid the middle class is going to have more of the same – our so-called "leaders" ignoring what's in our best interests while catering to the monied folks in this country – the corporations, the lobbyists and the 1%.

    July 6, 2012 03:09 pm at 3:09 pm |
  17. NATHAN WIMBERLY

    Hiding from the Mitt (I have nothing to offer)McCain bloodbath that Tampa will be.

    July 6, 2012 03:13 pm at 3:13 pm |
  18. wm Scot

    Way to go Jon I would have voted for you and I am a democrat !

    July 6, 2012 03:15 pm at 3:15 pm |
  19. Miles

    Republican here – I would have voted for this guy, if we had been given the chance. Obama gets my vote again...when are we going to nominate a decent Republican candidate???

    July 6, 2012 03:17 pm at 3:17 pm |
  20. beevee

    Too bad for the GOP. The thoughtless republican voters could not recognize the gem of a man and went for glass beads.

    July 6, 2012 03:22 pm at 3:22 pm |
  21. Hammerer

    Huntsman should go to NC with his buddy Obama. Sounds like he is going to need to recuit some warm bodies to attend his gala party. Obama holds a convention and nobody wants to attend.

    July 6, 2012 03:24 pm at 3:24 pm |
  22. Bill from GA

    And I was looking forward to more hilarious antics from his lovely daughters. They certainly add needed color to the repug party.

    July 6, 2012 03:38 pm at 3:38 pm |
  23. Squigman

    Republicans know nothing valuable, they only know cost. The same shortsighted concepts that led up to 2008.

    July 6, 2012 03:45 pm at 3:45 pm |
  24. Ann Marie

    Hammerer you're as out of touch as Mittens is. Huntsman is a fine man and thinks for the people not the almighty dollar. Mitt is bought and paid for

    July 6, 2012 03:48 pm at 3:48 pm |
  25. Wendy

    Huntsman is a good and smart man! Nothing like the pretty boy scoundrel, unpatriotic Mitt.
    OBAMA 2012 – Moving Forward and Thoughtfully with a Plan!

    July 6, 2012 03:53 pm at 3:53 pm |
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