Jon Huntsman spokesman Tim Miller says the former ambassador to China and Utah Governor was “proud of the race that he ran” but “did not want to stand in the way” of rival Mitt Romney, the current front-runner for the Republican nomination.
Huntsman plans to endorse Romney at an 11 a.m. press conference Monday in Myrtle Beach, SC.
After a disappointing third place finish in New Hampshire – a contest on which he had staked his candidacy – Huntsman vowed to fight on. In his concession speech in New Hampshire, he told his supporters: “I say third place is a ticket to ride, ladies and gentleman! Hello, South Carolina!”
Word of the Huntsman withdrawal came on the same day The State, South Carolina’s largest newspaper, endorsed him for president.
The endorsement said there were “two sensible, experienced grownups in the race,” referring to Romney and Huntsman. But it said Huntsman “is more principled, has a far more impressive resume and offers a significantly more important message.”