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|Former Utah Gov. Jon Huntsman announces GOP presidential bid, viewed as moderate on gay issues|
|by Ryan Watkins|
|June 21, 2011 12:17|
Jon Huntsman, the former governor of Utah and more recently, the U.S. Ambassador to China, officially announced today his intention to seek the Republican nomination to run against President Barack Obama in the 2012 presidential election.
Set against the backdrop of the Statue of Liberty in New York City, Huntsman read a prepared statement.
“Today, I am a candidate for the office of the President of the United States of America,” Huntsman said.
While the governor of Utah, Huntsman held several moderate positions and even endorsed a bill that would have provided civil unions for same-sex couples in the state, according to The Atlantic. Huntsman has also supported a bill to outlaw housing and employment discrimination for LGBT persons while governor.
Although he does not favor same-sex marriage, gay Republican organizations are anxious to line up support for the candidate. Charles Moran, a political consultant and vice-chair of the California Log Cabin Republicans, reached out to possible supporters yesterday to invite them to donate to the Huntsman campaign, according to an email obtained by Politico.
“He’s talked the talk, and walked the walk – Governor Huntsman is not only the right choice to lead our nation, he is unique in his desire to have a fully inclusive campaign,” Moran wrote in the email. “This is a prime opportunity to publically stand forward with our candidate and present America, and LGBT-Americans an alternative choice.”
Huntsman has vowed to run a “civil” campaign, saying today that he respected his primary opponents and President Obama.
“We will conduct this campaign on the high road. I don't think you need to run down someone's reputation to run for the office of president,” Huntsman said. “I respect my fellow Republican candidates and I respect the President of the United States. The question each of us wants the voter to answer is 'who will be the better president, not who's the better American.'”
Huntsman was named U.S. Ambassador to China by President Obama and resigned earlier this year in the lead up to the 2012 election.
Top photo: Former Utah Gov. Jon Huntsman (via Facebook)
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