Meet the candidates: Jon Huntsman

Jun 22, 2020, 12:19 PM | Updated: Jun 23, 2020, 2:28 pm
huntsman signatures COVID-19, SLCO Health Department released Jon Huntsman Jr. from isolation...
FILE - Former Utah Gov. Jon Huntsman Jr. answers a question during a meeting with the Deseret News and KSL editorial boards in Salt Lake City on Thursday, Jan. 19, 2017. Ravell Call, Deseret News

Jon Huntsman Jr. was born on March 26, 1960, in Redwood City, Calif. 

Huntsman served as a missionary for The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints to Taiwan.  He received a Bachelor of Arts in international politics in 1987 from the University of Pennsylvania.

Huntsman and his wife, Mary Kaye, have seven children.

The candidate is seeking his former job as governor of Utah (2005-2009), winning by a landslide in 2008. He was succeeded by Lieutenant Gov. Gary Herbert.

If re-elected, Huntsman will be the first governor in Utah history to serve non-consecutive terms.

Huntsman served as the U.S. ambassador to Russia (2017-2019), to China (2009-2011) and to Singapore (1992-1993).

Huntsman has served in every presidential administration since President Ronald Reagan. He campaigned for the White House during the 2012 presidential election.

Huntsman announced his bid on Nov. 14, 2019, to again become governor of Utah. On Feb. 7, 2020, Huntsman selected Provo Mayor Michelle Kaufusi as his running mate.

Huntsman says he would like to take some of the lessons in remote schooling during the COVID-19 pandemic and make permanent changes to the state education system. According to his campaign, “We need to cut back on the standardized testing and give teachers more time to creatively engage with kids.”

The candidate calls for increasing the availability of charging stations for electric cars and converting the UTA FrontRunner train engines to electric.

The former governor is a supporter of the Second Amendment and says the state’s current firearms laws are “appropriate” and any further restrictions on guns are not needed.

His response to an NRA survey can be read here.

Find out more about candidate Huntsman at his campaign website.


Huntsman announced June 10, 2020 that he tested positive for the coronavirus after originally receiving the “wrong results.”

“After a second try, test results came back positive for Covid-19,” Huntsman, 60, tweeted. “Have been experiencing classic symptoms . . . like so many others, my goal is to keep my family safe.”

Today’s Top Stories

Photo: Salt Lake City School District...
Paul Nelson

Educators trying to bring resource officers back to SLC schools

Before the pandemic, ten Salt Lake City Police officers were assigned to protect students on the campuses of the school district.  Currently, there are only five patrolling the halls.
1 day ago
(Screen grab taken from Thursday's Cache County School District Board meeting.  Video: Cache County...
Paul Nelson

Racist Halloween costumes lead to emotional meeting on racism in Cache County

Some residents tell the Cache County School District that racism is far too common, while others say the response to the incidents was also inappropriate. 
1 day ago
FILE - Ahmad Al Aliwi Alissa, accused of killing 10 people at a Colorado supermarket in March, is l...
The Associated Press

Colorado supermarket shooting suspect incompetent for trial

A judge on Friday ordered 22-year-old Ahmad Al Aliwi Alissa to be treated at the state mental hospital to see if he can be made well enough to face prosecution.
1 day ago
3 bridges being replaced as part of UDOT reconstruction project. Photo: https://www.flickr.com/phot...
Eliza Craig

UDOT to close I-80 in Salt Lake City Saturday night

UDOT will close I-80 in both directions between 700 East and Foothill Drive in Salt Lake City on Saturday night.
1 day ago
ZooLights amur tiger...
Kelsey Earl

Utah’s Hogle Zoo introduces new Amur tiger, Sasha

Sasha, an Amur tiger from Kansas, is making herself at home in the Asian Highlands exhibit at Utah's Hogle Zoo. About 500 Amur tigers live in the wild.
1 day ago
Omicron variant Photo: Canva...
Becky Bruce

Omicron variant of COVID-19 detected in first Utah patient

Utah health officials confirmed the state's first patient to test positive for the omicron variant of COVID-19 Friday. 
1 day ago