According to reports tweeted on Sunday night by New York Times reporter Jeff Zeleny, Republican presidential candidate Jon Huntsman is about to leave the race and will endorse Mitt Romney.
Zeleny added that “Huntsman was urged by some advisers to stay in the race thrugh South Carolina primary, but concluded that he wanted to end with dignity.”
A little later, Zeleny’s blog at the Times filled in some of the details, reporting that “Matt David, campaign manager to Mr. Huntsman, confirmed the decision in an interview Sunday evening. ‘The governor and his family, at this point in the race, decided it was time for Republicans to rally around a candidate who could beat Barack Obama and turn around the economy,’ Mr. David said. ‘That candidate is Gov. Mitt Romney.'”
Politico’s Maggie Haberman commented, “It’s a tough ending for Huntsman, who basically went broke months back, uprooted his campaign to New Hampshire — only to come in a disappointing third place. His campaign has been low on funds, and faced grim prospects in Saturday’s South Carolina primary.”
In an expanded version of the story, Haberman added that Huntsman’s wealthy father had reportedly “grown leery” of putting more money into his son’s failing campaign.
The news comes on the same day as Huntsman received a significant endorsement from The State, South Carolina’s largest newspaper.
“You’d think that even if they don’t like it, those on the extremes would respect the fact that those of us in the sensible center decide general elections — and seek out a candidate who appeals to us,” the paper wrote. “But the unhealthy demand for ideological purity obscures a hopeful fact about the GOP presidential field: There are actually two sensible, experienced grownups. And while Mr. Romney is far more appealing than any of the other choices, former Utah Gov. Jon Huntsman is more principled, has a far more impressive resume and offers a significantly more important message.”
“What makes him attractive are the essential values that drive his candidacy: honor and old-fashioned decency and pragmatism,” the editorial continues. “We need a president who can work within our poisonous political environment to solve our nation’s problems, not simply score partisan points. Someone who understands that negotiation is essential in a representative democracy, and that there are good ideas across the political spectrum. Someone who has a well-defined set of core values but is not so rigid that he ignores new information and new conditions. Someone who has shown himself to be honest and trustworthy. And competent. Someone whose positions are well-reasoned and based on the world as it is rather than as he pretends it to be. Someone with the temperament and judgment and experience to be taken seriously as the commander in chief and leader of the free world.”
According to Buzzfeed, Obama strategist David Axelrod said that Huntsman was “simply unwillingly [sic] to make the Faustian bargains with the Right that Romney has so willingly made.”