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Report: Huntsman dropping out of GOP race

COLUMBIA, S.C., Jan. 15 (UPI) -- Jon Huntsman intends to end his campaign for the Republican nomination for U.S. president, The New York Times reported Sunday night.

Word of the former Utah governor's decision to drop out came the same day he received the endorsement of Columbia, S.C.'s newspaper The State and six days ahead of the state's primary election.

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The Times said Huntsman informed his advisers Sunday and had plans to make an announcement as early as Monday. There is a GOP debate set for Monday evening in Myrtle Beach.

The newspaper said Huntsman aides, who it did not name, said their boss had concluded he was unlikely to overtake front-runner Mitt Romney or the other top candidates in the Republican field.

The Times said several people it said spoke on condition they weren't named, said Huntsman would endorse Romney.

Huntsman had finished third in the Jan. 3 New Hampshire primary. He didn't campaign ahead of Iowa's precinct caucuses and finished far behind the leaders there.

In its endorsement, The State called Huntsman "more principled" than his competitors.

"Mr. Huntsman is a true conservative, with a record and platform of bold economic reform straight out of the free-market bible, but he's a realist, whose goal is likewise to get things done," the newspaper said. "Under his leadership, Utah led the nation in job creation, and the Pew Center on the States ranked it the best-managed state in the nation. He also is head and shoulders above the field on foreign policy."

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The State said the Utah governor's "old-fashioned decency and pragmatism" set him apart from the other candidates who consider "obstinance and vitriol a virtue."

"We need a president who can work within our poisonous political environment to solve our nation's problems, not simply score partisan points. Someone who understands that negotiation is essential in a representative democracy, and that there are good ideas across the political spectrum," the editorial read.

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