Huntsman's dad gave big money to his super PAC
January 31st, 2012
12:55 PM ET
10 years ago

Huntsman's dad gave big money to his super PAC

(CNN) – Jon Huntsman Sr., the billionaire chemical magnate whose son dropped out of the 2012 GOP presidential race earlier this month, donated more than $1.8 million to a super PAC supporting his son's candidacy, according to documents filed Tuesday with the Federal Election Commission.

That accounts for 70% of the super PAC's total fundraising. The organization, Our Destiny PAC, raised a total of $2.7 million during the 2012 campaign cycle, much of which was used to fund advertisements in New Hampshire.

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Jon Huntsman, Jr., dropped out of the Republican presidential race in South Carolina following a poor showing in the New Hampshire primary.

One ad from the group attacked rival Mitt Romney for being a "chameleon" while boosting Huntsman, who served as governor of Utah from 2005-2009 and later was appointed by President Barack Obama to serve as ambassador to China.

During his campaign, Huntsman consistently said he was unaware of any contributions from his father to the super PAC supportive of his candidacy, citing federal law prohibiting any coordination between super PACs and campaigns.

In November, Huntsman said on CNN: "He's my dad. He's my best friend. I love him dearly. He can do whatever he wants to do. We don't talk about those things; we can't. I'm just delighted that we've actually got some outside assistance from wherever it might come from that believes in our cause and might help us get to where we need to be in the numbers in New Hampshire."

On the day of the New Hampshire primary, Huntsman's wife Mary Kaye downplayed any notion her father-in-law would help influence the outcome in the state.

"My husband's philosophy has always been to get out there and earn the vote," Mrs. Huntsman said. "You know, you want to feel that you have earned people's vote and not bought the vote. And you have to put a little bit in, a little seed money here and there, that has helped out in the campaign. But we are not about buying a campaign."

Huntsman dropped out of the GOP contest after finishing third in the New Hampshire primary. Huntsman pinned all of his presidential hopes on winning the Granite State's first-in-the-nation primary, campaigning almost exclusively in the state.

Other prominent donors to the super PAC were Jim and Christy Walton, heirs to the Walmart fortune. Jim Walton is listed by Forbes as the ninth richest person in America.

Filed under: 2012 • Jon Huntsman
soundoff (17 Responses)
  1. Rudy NYC

    Yeah, yeah. We already knew that Dad was acting like Daddy Warbucks. What about the money left over in the Cain and Bachmann campaigns? Don't dissappoint me and leave them out.

    January 31, 2012 01:05 pm at 1:05 pm |
  2. Bill

    Of all the GOP candidates, he was the most likeable, electable, moderate, and even-keeled. But of course, this automatically disqualifies him from what is left of the Republican party. The GOP has become a laughing stock and they have immeasurably strengthened Obama's relection prospects.

    January 31, 2012 01:06 pm at 1:06 pm |
  3. Fla.Pete

    See how crooked these superpacs are,they're not monitored enough because Repubs in the Supreme Court didn't set up enough guidelines,too new...Now Repubs are yelling foul,at a MONSTER they created,so live with the creature, who will end up destroying your careers.You deserve it,live by the sword,die by the sword,happy trails....

    January 31, 2012 01:09 pm at 1:09 pm |
  4. Phil in KC

    Wonder how he feels about the return on his investment?

    January 31, 2012 01:09 pm at 1:09 pm |
  5. Ben Dover

    As with Romney, these Repukes don't know what the average family has to deal with...
    It must be nice to own alot of homes, but you can only live in one at a time!!!

    January 31, 2012 01:17 pm at 1:17 pm |
  6. Bessy

    It really is a shame that at one point in history every child could dream, and had a chance, of becoming POTUS. That is no longer true. Only people with big money have that opportunity today. That is not supposed to be what our country is all about. Really sad !

    January 31, 2012 01:17 pm at 1:17 pm |
  7. once upon a horse

    turned out to be quite a waste of money don't you think? Especially after his son spent his time slamming Romney only to come out and endorse him. Better luck in 2016 Gov and if you plan to run again you should be pulling for Obama to win since that would be the only way you could run unless you plan to primary the GOP president if we have one.

    January 31, 2012 01:23 pm at 1:23 pm |
  8. anagram_kid

    Imagine a world where the candidates could stand on their own merit and there was no need to buy elections. Just imagine if these funds, and all the funds that were wasted in the 2010 election had been spent on cancer treatments and research, education, alternative energy research, investments in US businesses…etc. instead? The only solution is to get rid of all campaign commercials and advertising.

    January 31, 2012 01:24 pm at 1:24 pm |
  9. Samuel Bogale and Kathy Stumm-Bogale Calgary Alberta

    No surprise there that his dad backed him unfortunately he didn't get his money's worth!

    January 31, 2012 01:29 pm at 1:29 pm |
  10. Truth and Nothing But the Truth

    Bessy - It really is a shame that at one point in history every child could dream, and had a chance, of becoming POTUS. That is no longer true. Only people with big money have that opportunity today. That is not supposed to be what our country is all about. Really sad !
    Hmmm.... not the case with Obama. But large contributors have ALWAYS driven the process with their contributions. In Huntsman case, the problem was the messenger and his message. Big money didn't help him one bit.

    January 31, 2012 01:31 pm at 1:31 pm |
  11. Woman In California

    Yes, everyone knows Richie Rich's dad contributed to his USELESS campaign. Nothing new here.

    January 31, 2012 01:34 pm at 1:34 pm |
  12. Data Driven

    Dinner at the Huntsmans:

    "Pass the peas, Dad. So, how much are you contributing the Thingy?"

    "What Thingy?"

    "YOU know ... the THINGY."

    "Oh yeahhh ... THAT Thingy."

    This issue would be worth investigating if Jon Huntsman made the slightest difference.

    January 31, 2012 01:45 pm at 1:45 pm |
  13. Willie Floyd

    The Reps. blew their only chance to POSSIBLY defeat the pres. when they ousted Huntsman.


    January 31, 2012 01:47 pm at 1:47 pm |
  14. carrotroot

    Huntsman received no love the first time around. Maybe he'll do better in 2016 when the crazies are finally weeded out of the Republican party.

    January 31, 2012 01:51 pm at 1:51 pm |
  15. The Greedy Old Pigs have declared class war on US!

    "Of all the GOP candidates, he was the most likeable, electable, moderate, and even-keeled."

    For all our criticism of the delusional extremists from the rightwing, it's important to notice when the independents, "moderates" and "liberals" show their own delusions. The big delusion here is the idea that Mr. Hunts Man was in any way a moderate. He was civil, and so many of you who crave civility returning to politics mistake and equate civility with moderation. Mr. Hunts Man is no moderate even though he is civil. He supports the Ryan plan to destroy Medicare for starters. He wants the same tax policies the predatory elitists like Rmoney and the GOBP deathcult favor. The fact that he was bankrolled by his daddy should remind you that he and Rmoney share some very interesting characteristics with our worst president ever, GWB. All three are spoiled rich Republicans who rode their daddy's coattails and expect things to be handed to them by virtue of their birth. Stop referring to Mr. Hunts Man as a moderate. He is modeled after a long line of GOBP spoiled rich kid scammers.

    January 31, 2012 02:15 pm at 2:15 pm |
  16. Scot

    As a democrat I am glad that Jon Huntsman did not make the republican nomination. He was the only common sence one up there. He would have gotten the middle of the road independents and the democrats that have not liked the way this administration handeled the congress. I do not think that the current congress would have worked with him either though !

    January 31, 2012 02:17 pm at 2:17 pm |
  17. Howard

    the suckers donate to obama...while Mz obama drops $50,000.00 in a dress shop in NY, tieing up trafic for blocks. Now his reelection team is out with credit card swipers for donating...this guy has no shame. If he were principaled he would resign for the mess and division he has created...but, like all power mongers he will spend a billion dollars to hold on to POWER, say and do all he can to do so.

    January 31, 2012 02:33 pm at 2:33 pm |