Jon Huntsman Is Out, Will Endorse Romney

Jon Huntsman is dropping out of the GOP race as early as Monday

I admit, I thought Huntsman would push through at least South Carolina, but Politico reports that this is not the case:

Jon Huntsman, the former Utah governor who was seen by Democrats months ago as the potential biggest threat to President Obama in a general election, is dropping out of the race tomorrow and will endorse Mitt Romney, a campaign official confirms to POLITICO.

A source said that Huntsman’s rationale for backing Romney, who he has criticized for weeks on the campaign trail as lacking a “core,” is that he didn’t want to block the person best prepared in the field to beat Obama, and then to lead the country and grapple with the economy.

“Jon Huntsman is proud of the campaign he ran and the message of restoring trust in Washington,” said a campaign official familiar with his thinking. “He didn’t want to stand in the way of the candidate most likely to beat Barack Obama and turn the economy around. That’s Mitt Romney.”

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.

Sorry pundits, no more Jon Huntsman speculation. No more hopeful profiles. No more wasted endorsements. That’s all she wrote.

This probably strengthens Romney’s hand, though not with the groups he most desperately needs to make inroads with – social conservatives and Tea Partiers. Admittedly, if Gingrich doesn’t drop out and endorse Santorum then Romney will remain a lot stronger in South Carolina and Florida. But Gingrich’s ego won’t let him resign so soon.

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Erik Kain

Erik writes about video games at Forbes and politics at Mother Jones. He's the editor of The League though he hasn't written much here lately. He can be found occasionally composing 140 character cultural analysis on Twitter.