Jon Huntsman will announce that he is running for President next Tuesday in New Jersey’s Liberty State Park, a source familiar with his decision confirms.
The move is no surprise. In recent weeks, Huntsman has dropped a series of hints indicating that he was nearly certain to run and was merely performing “due diligence,” as an aide put it, before formalizing the decision. His advisers have scripted a kickoff drenched in iconography. Liberty State Park, located in Jersey City just across the river from New York Harbor, was the site of Ronald Reagan’s general-election campaign in 1980. It boasts views of the Statue of Liberty and Ellis Island–fitting emblems for a candidate who will use his experience abroad to argue that he is uniquely positioned to safeguard America’s place in the world.
Huntsman, who has visited New Hampshire three times in the past month, will step into a full-fledged campaign just a month-and-a-half after returning from his post as U.S. Ambassador to China, with staff already lined up in key early states like New Hampshire and South Carolina. The former Utah governor’s bid will be located in Orlando, his wife’s childhood hometown and one of the key early battlegrounds for a candidate the White House views as perhaps the toughest potential general-election competitor. But getting that far will hinge on Huntsman’s ability to convince conservative primary voters to embrace a relatively unknown quantity with comparably moderate views. That task starts next Tuesday.