MYRTLE BEACH, S.C. – In what longtime political experts have called a “political Hail Mary”, Jon Huntsman attempted to revitalize his faltering bid for the Republican presidential nomination by announcing the suspension of his campaign on Monday.
“Huntsman’s a shrewd politician, and this tells people that he understands how they feel about him. They have written him off, so he followed the people’s lead and has written himself off as well,” commented Julia Maynirs, chief political analyst for the Los Angeles Times. “He’s communicating a willingness to listen to what primary voters are saying, specifically, that they do not want him to be the nominee.”
While a risky maneuver, major political analysts have noted a recent surge in media coverage during, and directly after, Mr. Huntsman’s announcement. Frustratingly nonpartisan political news outlet Politico has even suggested that Mr. Huntsman could stay in the news cycle a full day, a new record for the struggling former Utah governor.
“By throwing his support behind Mitt Romney, Huntsman is showing that he can pick a winning horse. This type of positive press will make primary voters take a second look at him – right before they vote for Romney,” remarked Deb Kelthrop of CNN. “He really should have done dropped out weeks ago.”
Reaction from political observers has been mixed, however, and some critics believe Mr. Huntsman suspending his campaign could have a disastrous impact on his chances of winning the nomination.
Carl Lutkin of the Washington Post explains: “Call me old-fashioned, but I think the nomination should go to someone that is still actually running.”
Sources close to the Huntsman campaign expect the former U.S. ambassador to China to perform better in future primaries now that he is no longer appearing on the ballot.