Huntsman was known as a moderate [Utah] Republican governor, who earned conservative ire for accepting stimulus money from the Obama administration. He also supported reducing greenhouse gas emissions, immigration reform with a pathway for citizenship for some illegal immigrants and civil unions for gays and lesbians.
He was a popular governor of Utah, Ambassador to China for Obama, and just resigned from that to prepare for a possible run for the White House as a Republican. He speaks fluent Mandarin Chinese, probably as a result of his Mormon missionary work. His father started and runs The Huntsman Corporation, a global chemical company that employs 11,000, and is a billionaire. So, he could certainly at least partly self-finance a presidential run.
He is a genuine moderate and it’s worth repeating that he believes climate change is happening and supports gay civil unions and immigration reform.
So, while other Republican candidates hurl themselves onto the stage only to self-destruct within weeks, Huntsman (and Pawlenty) quietly wait in the background, biding their time… If it comes down to a compromise candidate, it will be one of these two, I think.
Sure, Huntsman is a dark horse. But clearly he has serious political skills, what with being a moderate governor of a conservative state, then being ambassador under a president of another party, all without roiling the waters much at all, it seems.