Rep. Jason Chaffetz of Utah has endorsed Mitt Romney to be the Republican nominee for the 2012 race against President Obama, according to the Los Angeles Times.
The news is significant considering Chaffetz passed up his old boss, former Utah Gov. Jon Huntsman, to publicly support Romney. (Hatch would face strong challenge from Chaffetz, Matheson in 2012)
For two years, Chaffetz worked closely with Huntsman, working his way up through the campaign ranks while Huntsman ran for governor, then serving as chief of staff.
In an interview with the LA Times, Chaffetz said his decision was “a little difficult.”
“Jon Huntsman is a good man, but when your goal is to beat Barack Obama, I just think Mitt Romney is in a much better position to do that,” said Chaffetz. “He’s laid this foundation for years. He’s got a wonderful organization, the ability to raise the type of money [needed]. And I just think he’s going to make a great president. I think we need that type business background to get our economy back in shape.”
“Again, nothing against Jon Huntsman — we’re just huge fans of Mitt Romney,” Chaffetz later added.
Chaffetz isn’t the only Utahan to support Romney. Sen. Orrin Hatch and Gov. Gary Herbert have both endorsed the former Massachusetts governor as well. Sen. Mike Lee, a rising conservative star in Washington, D.C., has not yet made an endorsement.
When contacted by The Daily Caller, a Lee spokesperson said the senator is “not close” to deciding which presidential candidate to support. Huntsman’s campaign declined to comment when contacted by TheDC.