KUTV was reporting this earlier in wishy-washy terms. But now everyone is confirming that Gov. Jon Huntsman Jr. is expected to be named by President Barack Obama as the U.S. Ambassador to China. Probably to be announced tomorrow.
The appointment of Huntsman would mean that Lt. Gov. Gary Herbert would take over as the state’s chief executive. A special election for the governor’s office would be held in 2010, under a new state constitutional amendment.
Huntsman, a Republican, met late last year with representatives of the Democratic president’s administration about a possible appointment.
The governor has served as U.S. ambassador to Singapore, and was on a short list to fill the same role in China under President George W. Bush. Huntsman speaks fluent Mandarin Chinese and led a Utah trade mission to China during his first term.
Could this be a move by Obama to keep his rivals close, á la putting Hillary Clinton into the State Department? Perhaps Huntsman has reconsidered his 2012 ambitions with a 2016 run looking more prudent than an Obama challenge. Either way, doesn’t going from a governor to an ambassador seem like a strange move for someone with future ambitions? Even if its China.
(As my father works for Gov. Huntsman, I haven’t commented on him much but I thought this was particularly noteworthy (also the reason for my anal retentive online use of my middle initial as we share first names). Incidentally, my Dad is the blurry face behind the governor in the third photo for this article. )
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