President of Sutherland Institute says Huntsman Jr. on Donald Trump’s short list for VP

Posted at 9:22 PM, May 13, 2016
and last updated 2016-05-13 23:22:50-04

SALT LAKE CITY -- There is speculation that former Utah Governor Jon Huntsman Jr. Is on Donald Trump's short list of potential vice presidential candidates.

"I think Jon Huntsman Jr. is a legitimate list person for the top five or six for the vice president spot," said Boyd Matheson, President of the Sutherland Institute.

It was in February that Huntsman went on the record saying Donald Trump is a candidate he could get behind. Fast forward three months, and the Sutherland Institute believes the pair could be the Republicans' one-two punch come November.

"There is a number of sources out there that are close to the Huntsmans that are saying, 'Hey, it's looking like a serious thing, there looks to be some probing going on there,'" Matheson said.

Matheson says Huntsman's resume can't be ignored, and he said he brings a lot of credibility and experience to the table.

He was U.S Ambassador to Singapore from 1992 to 1993. He was Governor of Utah from 2005 to 2009. He was U.S. Ambassador to China from 2009 to 2011. Huntsman also ran for president himself, losing the Republican primary in 2012.

"Obviously Jon Huntsman Jr. has been in the spotlight a lot, he knows his way around a camera, and he knows his way around an interview, and he also knows his way around policy, and I think all of those can be very important," Matheson said.

Matheson says Huntsman could also reach out to voters that Trump has yet to win over.

"I think he brings in Independents, I think he brings in some Democrats, and he has some credibility in terms of the Republican Party, obviously,  because his experience there," Matheson said.

However, Matheson said one area where Huntsman can't provide help is right here in Utah.

"No, I don't think anyone is really going to help in terms of the Utah vote," Matheson said.

According to the Sutherland Institute, Trump isn't expected to announce his running mate until the days leading up to the Republican National Convention in June.

Don Peay with the Trump campaign in Utah said he, Donald Trump Jr. and Huntsman Jr. have met to discuss China, and he said he knows of at least one meeting between Hunstman Jr. and Donald Trump. However, he said he had not heard anything about Huntsman potentially serving as a running mate.

FOX 13 News has reached out to Huntsman for comment and has not yet received a response.