After what must have been a grueling uphill slog that got him maybe tenth of the way up that hill, Jon Huntsman, the former Ambassador to China and Governor of Utah,has bowed out of the race for Republican presidential nomination. The decision comes after a dead-last finish in the Iowa caucus, a not terrible third place in New Hampshire, and polls that show voters in South Carolina may prefer him slightly less than Stephen Colbert. Which isn't to say he didn't have his fans in the Palmetto State; the state's largest paper, The State — sorry for using that word so many times in a row — just endorsed him today.
His campaign manager, Matt Davis, released this statement earlier today about the move and Huntsman's motives:
"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…"
So who will this moderate, experienced Mormon throw his weight behind as the best man for the job? Which candidate will he choose? (The suspense is killing the uninsured!) Drum roll, plezzzzzzzzzzzzzz:
"That candidate is Gov. Mitt Romney."
And we're down to
four five! One moderate nobody wants, one bro-beloved senile coot, one insane man with a "Google problem," one I forgot about when I first wrote this like a dream that was bad but not especially memorable, and Newt Gingrich. (Sorry, Newt. No snappy description for you.) The official announcement of both Huntsman's decision and endorsement of Romney will come tomorrow at eleven in Myrtle Beach. Go to some sea-side bar and down a few margaritas afterwards, Jon. (Er, virgin margaritas, I guess?) You've earned it.