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Huntsman, more moderate on gay rights, drops out of GOP presidential race

Former Utah Gov. Jon Huntsman

Former Utah Gov. Jon Huntsman dropped out of the GOP primary process for the 2012 general election today and endorsed rival Mitt Romney, former governor of Massachusetts.

Huntsman failed to gain a solid footing after the first two contests of the year: the Iowa Caucuses, where he finished seventh, and the New Hampshire Primary, where he finished third, behind Romney and Congressman Ron Paul.

With his victory in New Hampshire, Romney solidified his status as the GOP front-runner.

“Today our campaign for the presidency ends, but our campaign to build a better and brighter America continues,” Huntsman said in a statement posted to his campaign website.

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Former Utah Gov. Jon Huntsman announces GOP presidential bid, viewed as moderate on gay issues

Former Utah Gov. Jon Huntsman supports civil unions for LGBT couples

Jon Huntsman, the former governor of Utah and more recently, the U.S. Ambassador to China, officially announced today his intention to seek the Republican nomination to run against President Barack Obama in the 2012 presidential election.

Set against the backdrop of the Statue of Liberty in New York City, Huntsman read a prepared statement.

“Today, I am a candidate for the office of the President of the United States of America,” Huntsman said.

While the governor of Utah, Huntsman held several moderate positions and even endorsed a bill that would have provided civil unions for same-sex couples in the state, according to The Atlantic. Huntsman has also supported a bill to outlaw housing and employment discrimination for LGBT persons while governor.