The former governor of Utah entered the race to be the GOP nominee with relatively low name recognition but before his declaration, with the Statue of Liberty as a backdrop, he had spent weeks crisscrossing the nation in a ‘get to know me’ campaign.
Obama’s former ambassador to China has a strong track record of fiscal conservatism with a more moderate approach to social issues, however this may well be subject to change as he looks to improve his standing amongst the GOP grassroots members. As governor of Utah between January 2005 and August 2009, he oversaw substantial tax cuts of $400 million which led to the Pew Research Centre naming Utah the “Best Managed State” in the union and to the state being considered one of the top 3 best states to do business by Forbes.
Whilst he was governor he was also chairman of the Western Governor’s Association and was re-elected in 2008 with nearly 78% of the vote before resigning 18 months later to serve in the Obama administration as ambassador to China. Prior to his governorship, Huntsman also served in the administrations of three Republican presidents: Reagan, GHW Bush and GW Bush, both in the White House and latterly as ambassador to Singapore.
Jon Meade Huntsman, Jr. has eight siblings and is the eldest son of billionaire chemical company owner Jon Huntsman, Sr. A member of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, he served as a Mormon missionary for two years, which was perhaps the first of his associations with Asia. He himself has seven children, including two adopted daughters: one from India and one from China. Huntsman is also an avid fan of progressive rock music and is known to be fond of the band, Dream Theater.