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Huntsman supporters push last-ditch effort for write-in campaign

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, Utah — A small group of Jon Huntsman supporters are making a last-ditch effort to convince the former governor to run as a write-in candidate. 

The move comes just days after Huntsman’s wife posted a photo on Instagram hinting at a potential write-in campaign. Huntsman — who lost the nomination to Lt. Gov. Spencer Cox during the Republican Primary June 30 — previously denied considering a write-in campaign. 

After the race was called, Huntsman tweeted he would “accept the will of the people.” 

 

But supporters haven’t lost hope. 

Supporter Alicia Williams told KSL NewsRadio there’s still a chance for the former governor to regain the seat. 

Williams reported a group of about 20 supporters meeting last week — analyzing data before presenting it to Huntsman. She said if Utahns were able to vote today with Huntsman as a write-in candidate, he would win with 42% of the vote, according to the group’s internal polling.

This data was pulled from a reputable polling agency, Williams said. However, the agency declined to have its name released to the public.

The group of supporters say they’ll continue strategizing — hoping for a meeting with Huntsman over the next two weeks. 

Williams said the group of supporters haven’t reached out to Huntsman yet — waiting to gather sufficient data about whether a write-in campaign would be successful. 

Cappy Jones, a friend of the family, said she talked with Huntsman’s wife and daughter — and she thinks they’re in support.

“I think they might consider it,” Jones said. “If there was a pathway to something different than what went on this first time around.”

Huntsman has until Aug. 31 to declare whether he’ll do it. Despite previously rejecting the idea of a write-in campaign, an Instagram post from his wife over the weekend re-ignited rumors. 

“Isabel trying to convince her Bapa to do a write in campaign for Utah Governor,” the caption reads. “He told her he’d think about it…”

 

 
 
 
 
 
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Isabel trying to convince her Bapa to do a write in campaign for Utah Governor. He told her he’d think about it…

A post shared by Mary Kaye and Jon Huntsman (@marykayeandjonhuntsman) on

His daughter, Abby Huntsman, later commented on the post with the hashtag “#AllInHunstmanWriteIn”.

Williams said until they get a “hard no” from Huntsman, they won’t stop. 

KSL NewsRadio’s Lindsay Aerts contributed to this report.