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Jon Huntsman says he will not run as a write-in candidate

FILE: Jon Huntsman Jr. answers a question during a Deseret News, KSL editorial board meeting In Salt Lake City on Thursday, Jan. 19, 2017. Photo: Ravell Call, Deseret News

SALT LAKE CITY — Former Utah Governor and ambassador to China and Russia Jon Huntsman Jr. says he will not run as a write-in candidate in Utah’s November election. 

The announcement comes after a number of Huntsman supporters began exploring the options of starting a write-in campaign in the governor’s race after losing that Republican primary to current Lt. Gov. Spencer Cox.

“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
Alecia Williams, a spokesperson for Utahns exploring a write-in campaign, told LiveMic with Lee Lonsberry that her group began exploring the optionafter they received a number of calls and messages from supporters who voted for other candidates, expressing their concern that the primary process was over.

“It wasn’t until the election ended that we were getting calls from friends and supporters from Hughes’ campaign and Wright’s campaign contacting us saying, ‘Wait we don’t get it. Was that really the end. that’s it? Cox got roughly 35% of the Republican party vote and that’s it?'”

She says that while they don’t dispute the results, she thinks the primary could have gone differently if more people understood the process. 

“A lot of people just feel unheard,” she continued.

Williams also said the write-in effort was a completely grassroots movement and that neither she nor anyone from their group had spoken with the Huntsman family. 

Huntsman’s daughter, Abby, told the Deseret News her father “has always had respect for the primary process.”

Hear the full interview with Alecia Williams below.