Former Gov. Jon Huntsman, R-Utah, announced officially Thursday he would run for the seat in 2020. File Photo by Kevin Dietsch/UPI | License Photo
Nov. 14 (UPI) -- Former Utah Governor John Huntsman, Jr. announced Thursday morning his bid for governor following months of speculation after his resignation from his U.S. diplomatic post.
Huntsman had resigned as U.S. ambassador to Russia in August fueling speculation he was positioning himself to run again for governor in Utah.
The speculation ended as Huntsman first made the announcement on a phone call with KSL NewsRadio while he was sitting with his wife, former Utah first last Mary Kaye Huntsman, at Hampton Inn in Cedar City, Utah.
"We are here to say we are so very honored and humbled to announce my candidacy for governor of the greatest state in America," Huntsman said live on KSL NewsRadio Thursday morning. "It really is an outgrowth of our commitment to public service. We believe that is a core value. It has been a core value of our community, our country and it certainly has been so in our family."
"For us it's not about politics, it's about continuing service to a community we love, a community which has defined my family for generations, where we respect all sides, we bring people together and pursue commonsense solutions where leadership obviously is a key ingredient," he added.
Later Thursday morning, a video of some of the call was posted on the Twitter page, Huntsman for Governor, and another Twitter post included a link to a video announcement posted on YouTube.
Lt. Gov. Spencer Cox is one of four Republican candidates who had previously declared a bid for the seat. The other Republican candidates are businessman Jeff Burningham, Salt Lake County Council Aimee Winder-Newton and perennial candidate Jason Christensen.
Democratic candidate Zachary Moses has also announced that he will run for the seat.
Cox tweeted after Huntsman's announcement that the Cox campaign was endorsed by 125 mayors across Utah.
"We welcome Ambassador Hunstman back to Utah after 10 years and we welcome him into the race and it will make me a better candidate," Cox told KSLNews Radio hosts, Tim Hughes and Amanda Dickinson, but he added that his absence from the state may hurt his chances.
Huntsman began to deliver a speech at Southern Utah University regarding the announcement later in the day.
On Friday, he'll also speak at Dixie State University.
Huntsman is seeking another run for governor in 2020 a little more than a decade after he served as Utah governor from 2005 to 2009. In addition to serving as U.S. Ambassador to Russia under President Donald Trump, Huntsman also served as ambassador to China under President Barack Obama.
"We've served our country in the top two diplomatic posts in the world. Now we feel it is time to give back to our home state again," Hunstman said in the YouTube 2020 campaign video.
He suggested that his experience nationally and internationally would help him govern.
"We're competing against nations out there that want to take our jobs and that want to steal investment coming our way, and we're going to have to be better, faster and smarter than anybody else," he told KSL NewsRadio. "I believe that we face an inflection point as a state ... I think the years ahead are going to be absolutely critical, and I believe the choices we make are going to shape the future for years to come."