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Jon Huntsman Jr. withdrew from the presidential race and endorsed frontrunner Mitt Romney on Monday.

“Today I am suspending my campaign and supporting the candidate who is best-equipped to defeat the president and return conservative leadership to the White House: Governor Mitt Romney,” Huntsman, a 1987 College graduate, wrote in a campaign email.

The formal announcement came at a news conference in Myrtle Beach, South Carolina, less than a week after the New Hampshire primary, in which Huntsman came in third place, and less than a week before the South Carolina primary, in which he is polling in last place among major candidates.

It also came in the wake of an endorsement by The State, the largest newspaper in South Carolina.

“Former Utah Gov. Jon Huntsman is more principled [than the other candidates], has a far more impressive resume and offers a significantly more important message,” The State wrote in its endorsement.

But Huntsman’s campaign faced many difficult challenges on the road ahead, including dwindling funds and low support.

Romney, who had previously been the major target of Huntsman’s campaign, issued a statement about Huntsman’s endorsement. “Jon ran a spirited campaign based on unity not division, and love of country,” Romney said. “I appreciate his friendship and support.”

Updated at 1:30 p.m. on Jan. 16.


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