Huntsman failed to catch fire during the primary even as a full range of candidates, from Michele Bachmann to Newt Gingrich to Herman Cain, briefly surged into contention and challenged Mitt Romney's front-runnner status. He demonstrated a willingness to break with conservative doctrines, as when he argued that the party's denial of climate change risked putting it on the wrong side of science.
Huntsman was later disinvited from a Republican National Committee event after calling, on MSNBC, for a third party that could inject fresh ideas into political discourse. He likened the snub to what they do in China on party matters if you talk off script, drawing on his experience as the U.S. ambassador to China.
A similar dissatisfaction with the Republican party's direction drove Huntsman's decision to forego the party's convention in Tampa, Fla., the former candidate said.
I will not be attending this year's convention, nor any Republican convention in the future, until the party focuses on a bigger, bolder, more confident future for the United States -- a future based on problem-solving, inclusiveness and a willingness to address the trust deficit, which is every bit as corrosive as our fiscal and economic deficits, Huntsman told the Salt Lake Tribune.