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Sen. Mike Lee endorses Jon Huntsman in governor race

April 10, 2020 GMT

SALT LAKE CITY (AP) — Republican Sen. Mike Lee endorsed Jon Huntsman, Jr. in Utah’s crowded gubernatorial race on Friday.

Lee said in a statement the Republican hoping to reclaim his seat at governor is a “true conservative” who has supported local control of federal public lands, opposed abortion and pushed back against the federal education initiative No Child Left Behind from former Republican President George W. Bush.

Lee served as general counsel under Huntsman as governor, before he left in 2009 to become ambassador to China under then-president Barack Obama. Huntsman later served under President Donald Trump as ambassador to Russia.

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Lee, who was elected to the Senate in 2010, said those two postings are evidence of Huntsman’s skill as a statesman.

Huntsman is facing several competitors for the GOP nomination in the race to replace Gary Herbert, who is not running again. They include Lt. Gov. Spencer Cox, ex-GOP chair Thomas Wright, ex-House Speaker Greg Hughes and Salt Lake County Council member Aimee Winder Newton.