He was, from the start, a media darling — profiled in a variety of national magazines and newspaper. His daughters — the three oldest — became a social media phenomenon known as the “Jon2012” girls.
And yet, for all of the buzz surrounding Huntsman, he never seemed able to put it all together. While his campaign aides insisted the Republican electorate was ready for a common sense conservative, Huntsman’s moderation — in tone if not in all of his policies — left him as a man without an obvious constituency within the Republican party.
His early performances on the campaign trail and in debates didn’t help matters. He was wooden and lacking in charisma; his reference to a Nirvana song during one early debate left the political world scratching its collective head about just who he was appealing to.
Huntsman also struggled to raise money although a super PAC with his father’s financial backing did spend heavily on his behalf in New Hampshire. But, after deciding to skip Iowa’s caucuses, the New Hampshire primary turned into an all or nothing gamble for him. Huntsman lavished attention on the state and gained some momentum in the closing days before the Granite State vote but still finished well behind Romney and Texas Rep. Ron Paul.
His decision to quit the race and throw his support behind Romney should help the former Massachusetts governor in South Carolina as he is now the lone candidate in the field making a direct appeal to the establishment wing of the GOP.