Politics & Policy

Utah’s Joe Kennedy

The Daily Beast looks at the behind-the-scenes dynamic between Jon Huntsman and his billionaire father (also Jon Huntsman):


Before the 2008 presidential primaries, for example, according to a source close to the family, father and son got together and discussed endorsement strategies. They determined that Huntsman Jr. would support John McCain—who was more likely to give him a prominent cabinet post if he won—while Huntsman Sr. would endorse Utah favorite Mitt Romney so as to maintain good relations with the state’s numerous Romney-ites. The apparent disagreement made headlines at the time but, the source says, “It was all calculated.”

As his son prepared to launch a presidential bid earlier this year, sources say Huntsman Sr. is as vigilant as ever. One Utah politico tells The Daily Beast that he’s been told through a family intermediary that Huntsman Sr. is carefully monitoring everything he says to the press about Jon Jr.

“It’s very hard to tell one of the Huntsmans ‘no,’” says Doug Foxley, a lobbyist and attorney who was a senior adviser to Jon Huntsman Jr. during his 2004 campaign and remains close to him. “Let me just put it this way: I think that Jon Sr. will be watching very closely those who do and don’t give to his son.”

Interesting factoid: Jon Huntsman announced his presidential candidacy on Huntsman Sr.’s birthday.

Katrina TrinkoKatrina Trinko is a political reporter for National Review. Trinko is also a member of USA TODAY’S Board of Contributors, and her work has been published in various media outlets ...


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