Huntsman at risk of shocking defeat in Utah

Then Donald Trump, who needed a credible ambassador to Moscow after Russia’s interference in the elections, tapped the seasoned hunter for the job – despite the former governor’s request that he quit the Access Hollywood band.

Huntsman’s willingness to serve in both democratic and republican administrations – as well as his reputation for moderation, which also included his role as co-chair of the non-partisan group No labels – Tests Republican tolerance in Utah for the type of technocratic governance he represents.

“This race is kind of a hunter against hunter,” said Doug Foxley, a political strategist and senior advisor to the Huntsman campaign. “Some of these people have feelings for Jon – and they either vote for him or they vote against him.”

Recently Surveys show the primary as a close connection between Huntsman and Cox. There are also two well-known Republicans on the ballot – former State House spokesman Greg Hughes and the former State GOP Chairman Thomas Wright – who is behind the two leaders.

Between missions as an ambassador, Huntsman told POLITICO in 2014 that he had no intention of running again. “I was governor and I was elected governor twice. However, if you get elected with around 80 percent of the vote and try again, you will never be as good as the first time.” then he said.

Now Huntsman is trying to convince the GOP voters his work in his home country has not yet been completed.

“I want to make it big,” said Huntsman during a debate earlier this month, promising to double the state’s GDP in office. “We are the most brilliant population in the country. We have so much to give. We have to innovate, build and grow so much.”

An already difficult race became even more difficult in the past few weeks when Huntsman became infected with the novel corona virus and forced the candidate into a strict quarantine in his home. In one Series of videos Huntsman recorded his quarantine period and described the acute fatigue he suffered from as a result of Covid-19. He also gave information about his campaign.

“I don’t think it hurts him,” said Frank Pignanelli, a Salt Lake City-based political strategist. Referring to the former governor’s public comments on receiving a test and delayed results, the question was: “Was there sympathy? [vote]or was there: “Ok, this guy went through it. He knows how to deal with it? ‘Nobody knows that. “

Cox, who was supported by Utah’s electricity Governor Gary Herbert directs the state’s coronavirus response. He used his leadership role to highlight his own knowledge of the crisis firsthand and to run an established campaign, even as a corona virus Cases increase in the state.

Nevertheless, Cox was accused of publicizing the virus by endorsing a non-mask-wearing policy.

“”[The coronavirus] The way politics is done has really changed and changed, “said Cox in an interview, adding that he had more than a month off to deal with the outbreak.” We have a lot more tele-city halls, zoom meetings and such types of stuff. Which is difficult because my style – I feel a lot more comfortable when I connect directly with the voters. “

Huntsman, whose campaign declined an interview request for this story, used his personal experience with the virus to inform his campaign platform, emphasizing economic renewal, expanded mental health resources, and a more robust email voting system. He has met Cox’s claim of continuity with the message that his familiarity with Utah’s economy as a former governor would best enable him to bail the state out of financial ruin.

As governor, Huntsman oversaw a period of significant economic expansion for Utah and cut taxes by more than $ 400 million. The state was named the country’s best-managed state by the Pew Center on the States in 2008, shortly before being re-elected for a second term.

His biggest complaint was his ability to form a new coalition of voters who would not normally have attended the state’s closed primary school. Polls show Huntsman is who Favorite among unconnected voters, a group that he consistently courted on the campaign. Tuesday is expected to bring strong participation in the all-mail elections, and his allies say that it will largely consist of independent Republicans who want to participate in the four-way area code.

Cox alluded to it and said, “My opponent is working really hard to register Democrats as Republicans. The big question is how many of these registered Republicans actually vote.”

The Huntsman name is well known in Utah – and has not been beaten politically. Huntsman’s father is the late billionaire philanthropist Jon Huntsman Sr. who was a leader in state economy and politics. He directed Ronald Reagan’s campaign in Utah in 1984 and his company, the Huntsman Chemical Company, patented a number of popular fast food containers, including the “Clamshell”, which became famous as a ship for McDonald’s Big Mac cheeseburgers. Huntsman’s brother Paul is the owner and publisher of The Salt Lake Tribune.

If elected, Huntsman said that he will not leave office. Instead, his focus is on rebuilding his country’s economy and maintaining the physical and mental health of its citizens. A number of factors – the spread of the corona virus, the number of candidates, and its record as ambassador among Democratic and Republican presidents – make Tuesday an even bigger question mark than usual.

“What he’s trying to do with this business plan is, of course, to focus on something important, but also to remind people: ‘Yes, I was there. I did that, “said Matthew Burbank, associate professor of political science at the University of Utah.” And with the Huntsman name, of course, that’s a relatively simple message. “

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