Four sources familiar with the situation told the magazine that Huntsman is more seriously considering the job, which he already held from 2004 to 2009, than he previously had been.
“It’s not idle chatter,” Chuck Warren, a Republican consultant who served as Huntsman’s campaign manager during his first bid for governor, told The Atlantic. “He’s seriously considering it.”
Derek Miller, the head of the Salt Lake City Chamber of Commerce and a well-connected figure in Utah’s donor community, said Huntsman is “making the rounds and talking to people about his prospects [in the race], doing his due diligence.”
Huntsman, who was appointed as ambassador to Russia in 2017, reportedly told the Trump administration that he would serve in the role for two years.
In 2011, he resigned as U.S. ambassador to China to pursue an ultimately unsuccessful presidential run.
If Huntsman does choose a gubernatorial run, he would enjoy some advantages, given his previous time in the governor’s mansion.
“Huntsman is going to have higher name ID, a stronger record to run on, and, of course, the money to back him up. He wouldn’t have to raise a dime. That’s hard to beat,” Miller told The Atlantic.
The State Department did not immediately respond to a request for comment on Huntsman’s reported plans.