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Former 2012 Presidential Candidate Jon Huntsman has announced that he will not be going to the GOP National Convention in August. The Former Utah Governor has attended every GOP Convention since 1984 when he was a delegate for Ronald Reagan. At the last Convention Huntsman announced the Vice Presidential Candidate Sarah Palin.
Obama’s former ambassador to China told the Salt Lake Tribune: “I will not be attending this year’s convention, nor any Republican convention in the future, until the party focuses on a bigger, bolder, more confident future for the United States – a future based on problem solving, inclusiveness, and a willingness to address the trust deficit, which is every bit as corrosive as our fiscal and economic deficits.”
Huntsman left the presidential race in January of this year and endorsed Mitt Romney as the Republican candidate. Huntsman won three delegates during the race, two when he took third place in the New Hampshire primary and one from Texas. These three delegates would have guaranteed Huntsman a speaking part at the Convention.
Former New Hampshire GOP Chairman Fergus Cullen claims that Huntsman’s comments represent the independent nature of the former candidate.
This is not the first time Huntsman has butted heads with Republicans this year. In March of this year Huntsman was dropped from a Republican National Committee event that was being held in Palm Beach after comments he made about having a third party in America.
Huntsman stated, “I think we’re going to have problems politically until we get some sort of third party movement or some voice out there that can put forth new ideas. We might not win, but we can certainly influence the debate.” Huntsman was lined up to speak at the “Regents” event but was informed personally by the RNC Chairman Reince Preibus that he would not be allowed to attend.
Huntsman is not the only Republican who was invited and is not going to the Convention. Virginia Senate Candidate George Allen is also planning to not attend, but not for ideological reasons. Instead, the candidate claims that he wants to stay in state to talk to constituents and continue to campaign.
Similarly, many Democrats are skipping the Democratic Convention in September 2012 to try to garner more votes. Representative Steve Israel, the head of the House Campaign side of the Democratic Party, encouraged those who are running for election in 2012 to stay home because “if they want to win an election, they need to be in their district” he added “I don’t care if the president was at 122% favorability right now. I think [candidates] should be in their district.”
Missourian Senator Claire McCaskill agrees with Israel and was originally criticized for not going. McCaskill stated, “I’ve got a really hard election. If you had a really hard election and it was after Labor Day, would you go to North Carolina to a bunch of parties and glad-handing or would you stay home and work as hard as you know how to convince Missourians they should rehire you?” She also claims that she is not trying to distance herself from Obama.
Huntsman’s decision to stay home from the GOP Convention is unique in its ideological origins. Huntsman claims that the Republican party must “put our country before politics.” He also stated, “I encourage a return to the party we have been in the past from Lincoln right on through to Reagan, that was always willing to put our country before politics.”
Image Courtesy of Gage Skidmore