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Sunday, January 15, 2012

Jon Huntsman Drops Out

In a surprising move--more surprising because of its timing than its occurrence--Jon Huntsman will drop out of the Republican Primary tomorrow, CNN reports.

The timing surprises me for two reasons.
1) Why now and not at any time in the five days since his less-than-necessary New Hampshire finish?
2) Moreover, this withdrawal comes shortly after South Carolina's largest newspaper, "The State," endorsed him.

That's a weird combination, isn't it? My best guess is that he wasn't receiving the influx of money on which he was counting after New Hampshire. Perhaps his wealthy father finally asserted he would not extend financial support.

Of course, that's not the way it will be spun by Huntsman tomorrow. He'll endorse Mitt Romney. Do not be surprised if Huntsman cites Republican unanimity as his main reason to drop out and support Romney. It's a convenient justification and perhaps even true, but it will still smell of disingenuousness after Huntsman's vocal criticisms of Romney not one week ago.

If I had to conjur some backroom deal between the two, it would make sense insofar as Romney's fear that potential Huntsman momentum (The top 3 in New Hampshire and the endorsement from "The State") could divide Romney's moderate support in the Republican Party. Said backroom deal, however, would certainly not involve a vice-presidential promise. You will never see two Mormons on one ticket, barring the re-discovery of the Golden Tablets. However, do not be surprised if a Romney Administration has Jon Huntsman in a nice cabinet position, including Secretary of State. In fact, it's a good bet.

Of course, the worst part about all of this was that earlier today I hypothesized about a Huntsman path to victory. Oh well. Let me see if it'll work for Rick Santorum tomorrow.

-IC

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