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Huntsman Instagram post renews write-in rumors

Hunstman  Instagram post
Posted at 6:42 AM, Aug 08, 2020

SALT LAKE CITY — An Instagram post by Mary Kaye and Jon Huntsman is renewing rumors he may be considering a write-in bid to reclaim his old job as Utah governor.

The post, seemingly written by former Utah First Lady Mary Kaye Huntsman, features an image of former U.S. Ambassador and (former Utah governor) Jon Huntsman Jr. with his granddaughter.

"Isabel trying to convince her Bapa to do a write in campaign for Utah Governor," the caption says. "He told her he'd think about it..."

The amusing image is likely to stoke rumors that Huntsman may be contemplating a write-in campaign, despite the candidate's own insistence that he would not. In the June primary, he lost the Republican nomination by about 6,300 votes to Lt. Governor Spencer Cox and finished sixth in the Utah GOP convention's ranked choice voting results.

"While we appreciate the continued enthusiasm from supporters throughout the state, especially after a very tight race, we won’t be pursuing any efforts for a write-in campaign," Huntsman said in a statement to FOX 13 last month.

But some supporters have tried to draft him to pursue a write-in campaign. Huntsman's daughter, Abby, told The Salt Lake Tribune on Friday that they aren't involved in that.

"As we said last time, our family isn’t involved in any activity for a write in. Anything being done is from the outside," she told The Tribune. "[We] have been reached out to by many to do this. ... Support seems to be growing for the movement."

A write-in campaign may be a tricky endeavor. They are considered very expensive to get traction, being forced to spend money on advertising and outreach efforts to convince voters to write his name in and he would not have the backing of the Utah Republican Party, which is rallying around Cox.

In a statement to FOX 13, Utah GOP Chairman Derek Brown made it clear they supported Cox.

"When Jon Huntsman conceded the race to Spencer Cox, he gracefully stated that he would 'respect the will of the people.' A few days later he repeated: 'we won’t be pursuing any efforts for a write-in campaign.' On more than one occasion, Huntsman has made it very clear that he will not support a write-in campaign, and the party takes him at his word," Brown said. "The Utah Republican Party is 100% supportive of our party’s nominee, Spencer Cox, who won both the state convention and the primary election. In fact, Cox received almost 25,000 more votes in this year’s primary election than Governor Herbert received in the primary election four years ago. We are grateful that our candidates and the party are now unifying and focusing on winning this November."

Note: FOX 13 and The Salt Lake Tribune are content-sharing partners.