Make us your home page
Instagram

Today’s top headlines delivered to you daily.

(View our Privacy Policy)

RNC Tampa 2012

Republican presidential candidate Jon Huntsman announces Jeb Bush Jr. endorsement

Republican presidential candidate Jon Huntsman, second from left, stands with his wife, Mary Kaye Huntsman, left, and Ana Navarro and Jeb Bush Jr. in Miami on Wednesday.

Getty Images

Republican presidential candidate Jon Huntsman, second from left, stands with his wife, Mary Kaye Huntsman, left, and Ana Navarro and Jeb Bush Jr. in Miami on Wednesday.

MIAMI — Republican presidential candidate Jon Huntsman, struggling with low poll numbers and internal campaign troubles, came to Coconut Grove Wednesday searching for political magic from that coveted name in Florida politics: Jeb Bush.

It was Jeb Bush Jr. — not his father, the former governor — who was throwing his support behind Huntsman. And the son made clear he did not speak for the father.

"I've been trying to pick his brain a little bit," Bush Jr. said. "I'll start lobbying him."

Huntsman touted the backing from Bush Jr. and Ana Navarro, a longtime fundraiser and strategist, as significant as he tries to grow an operation off to a shaky start into a top contender.

Bush Jr., a real estate developer with an extensive network of contacts, will lead the campaign's outreach to young professionals. Navarro, who co-chaired John McCain's Hispanic outreach in 2008, will head Huntsman's effort to attract Hispanics, a crucial demographic to make Florida go red or blue.

President Barack Obama won over young people and Hispanics in 2008, while Huntsman vowed to bring them to his camp.

"We are serious. We are moving forward," said Huntsman, the former governor of Utah. "We are planting seeds in the early primary states."

Navarro said she had vowed to stay out of the primary but was persuaded to become involved because of what she called a leadership vacuum in national politics. Huntsman's limited traction so far, she said, reminded her of McCain's lukewarm support in the beginning of the last presidential campaign — and of the little credibility given early on to Sen. Marco Rubio, whom she and Bush Jr. also supported.

"Jon Huntsman is a man who's not a fake. He's not a flip-flopper. He's not a shape-shifter," said Navarro, who also lauded Huntsman's foreign-policy experience. He served the past two years as U.S. ambassador to China under the Obama administration.

Speaking to reporters, Huntsman played up that his national headquarters is in Orlando.

Facing questions on his organization, Huntsman downplayed any internal tensions following high campaign turnover.

"I've run a state. It was a AAA bond-rated state. We were named the best-managed state in America," he said. "… I've run the second-largest embassy in the world. I've got seven kids in my family. I know something about organizations and organizational behavior. Our campaign is right where it needs to be."

Republican presidential candidate Jon Huntsman announces Jeb Bush Jr. endorsement 08/10/11 [Last modified: Thursday, August 11, 2011 10:16am]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

© 2017 Tampa Bay Times

    

Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

Loading...
  1. Tiger Woods arrested on DUI charge in Florida

    Public Safety

    Tiger Woods has been arrested on a drunken driving charge in Palm Beach County, various media outlets are reporting.

    Tiger Woods has been arrested on a DUI charge in Florida.
  2. Young male hospitalized after shooting in St. Petersburg

    Crime

    ST. PETERSBURG — A juvenile male was injured Monday morning in a shooting in the 2300 block of 17th Ave S, police said.

    A juvenile was injured in a shooting Monday morning in the 2300 block of 17th Ave S in St. Petersburg. (Zachary Sampson, Tampa Bay Times)
  3. Big rents and changing tastes drive dives off St. Pete's 600 block

    Music & Concerts

    ST. PETERSBURG — Kendra Marolf was behind the lobby bar of the State Theatre, pouring vodka sodas for a weeknight crowd packed tight for Bishop Briggs, the latest alternative artist to sell out her club.

    Sam Picciano, 25, left, of Tampa and Molly Cord 24, Palm Harbor shop for record albums for a friend at Daddy Kool Records located on the 600 block of Central Avenue in St. Petersburg, Florida on Saturday, May 20, 2017. OCTAVIO JONES   |   Times
  4. How Hollywood is giving its biggest stars digital facelifts

    Business

    LOS ANGELES — Johnny Depp is 53 years old but he doesn't look a day over 26 in the new "Pirates of the Caribbean" movie — at least for a few moments. There was no plastic surgeon involved, heavy makeup or archival footage used to take the actor back to his boyish "Cry Baby" face, however. It's all …

    This combination of photos released by Disney, shows the character Jack Sparrow at two stages of his life in "Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Men Tell No Tales."  Johnny Depp, who portrays the character, is the latest mega-star to get the drastic de-aging treatment on screen
[Disney via Associated Press]
  5. Putin visits France, hopes to mend strained ties with West

    World

    VERSAILLES, France — On a visit likely to shape Russia-France ties for years, French President Emmanuel Macron hosted Russian President Vladimir Putin at the sumptuous Palace of Versailles on Monday for what the newly-elected French leader said would be "demanding" talks on Syria, the Ukrainian crisis and other …

    Russian President Vladimir Putin, right, is welcomed by French President Emmanuel Macron at the Palace of Versailles, near Paris, France, Monday. Monday's meeting comes in the wake of the Group of Seven's summit over the weekend where relations with Russia were part of the agenda, making Macron the first Western leader to speak to Putin after the talks. [AP photo]