Campaign manager Matt David revealed that Huntsman intends to announce his drop out at an event in Myrtle Beach. Besides, Mr Huntsman will endorse Mitt Romney, whom he believes to be the best candidate to compete with President Barack Obama in November.
“Governor Huntsman did not want to stand in the way of the candidate best prepared to beat Barack Obama and turn our economy around. That’s Mitt Romney,” the official said.
A former Utah governor, who took the third place in last week’s New Hampshire primary, a state where he had staked his entire campaign, behind Romney and Texas Rep. Ron Paul, CNN reports.
The State, South Carolina’s largest newspaper, had announced endorsed him for president and on the same day rumors about Huntsman withdrawal came out.
According to the Green Bay Press Gazette, the endorsement claimed there were ‘two sensible, experienced grownups in the race,’ meaning Romney and Huntsman. But it said Huntsman ‘is more principled, has a far more impressive resume and offers a significantly more important message.’
The paper praised what it called the ‘essential values that drive his candidacy: honor and old-fashioned decency and pragmatism.’
Newt Gingrich’s rep, R.C. Hammond, said Huntsman dropping out means ‘we are one step closer to a bold Reagan conservative winning the GOP nomination.’
Debates on Monday in Myrtle Beach and Thursday in Charleston will provide voters with their probably last chance to see all the remaining Republican candidates on one stage, as some are can drop out of the race after Saturday’s vote.
As a matter of fact, two South Carolina Republican politicians, Sen. Lindsey Graham and Rep. Tim Scott, supposed that one more Romney victory this week would likely ‘sew up the nomination for him.’
“If for some reason he’s not derailed here and Mitt Romney wins South Carolina, no one’s ever won all three, I think it should be over,” Graham told reporters. “That would be quite a testament to his ability as a candidate and a campaigner.”
Scott agreed: “If Romney wins South Carolina, I think the game is over.”
Nick Perry, the Texas governor who lags behind after poor performances in earlier debates, suggested that President Obama’s campaign will certainly raise the matter in case Romney gets the Republican nomination.
“The issue’s not going away,” he said. “Now’s the time to talk about it, not in September and October.”
Another candidate, Newt Gingrich expressed a similar point of view on NBC’s “Meet the Press” and the CBS program “Face the Nation,” saying: “Our nominee had better be capable of standing up there, telling the truth, enduring the negative ads and winning the vote.”
Santorum, meanwhile, told reporters that Huntsman endorsement should help his campaign, as he seeks to regain the luster of a razor-thin second-place finish behind Romney in Iowa.
“I was told that individual members are going to go out and do things with, you know, either endorsements or contacting people here in the state and across the states to support us and to help our cause,” said Santorum.
“It would be helpful if everybody dropped out and I would win,” Santorum added. “But, you know, the idea is, we’re going to go through this process, people have the right to go out and make the case to the voters and then we’ll see what happens.”
Scott, the winner of elections in 2010 with strong support from the tea party movement, told reporters that the impact of the evangelical vote – a large bloc in South Carolina – is to be “huge” on Saturday:
“It’s hard to find a single candidate that rallies all of the Christian voters in South Carolina and therefore that splintered approach will probably have a major impact in the state’s primary,” he said.