Huntsman in Utah; tours lab, gives speech, raises money

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SALT LAKE CITY — Former Gov. Jon Huntsman Jr. toured a Utah microbiology laboratory Tuesday afternoon during a presidential campaign stop in the state that also included a fundraiser.

Huntsman told reporters that he brings "something to the table that speaks to what the state has done specifically in the area of job creation and economic vitality."

He said so far the race for the White House has been rigorous. "But I've got to tell you, I wouldn't want to be anywhere else. This is a critically important election cycle for our country and for the next generation."

The media was not allowed to accompany Huntsman on his tour of the lab, which expects to post $40 million in sales this year to customers around the world. Before leaving the facility on Redwood Road, he greeted employees in the company cafeteria.

"That was awesome," said Erika Diaz, a packaging supervisor from West Valley City, of the opportunity to meet the former governor who left Utah in 2009 to become U.S. ambassador to China under President Barack Obama.

It's been a week since Huntsman announced he was running in president at an event in New Jersey with the Statue of Liberty as a backdrop.

During his first visit to the state as an official candidate, Huntsman also spoke to a group of real estate professionals in Park City and held a fundraising luncheon at the members-only Alta Club.

He is now headed to Texas, where another fundraiser is scheduled this evening. On Wednesday, he'll head to Chicago and Michigan for more fundraising events.

Last Friday, the other Republican presidential candidate with ties to the state was in Utah, Mitt Romney, also visited Utah. Romney held an event at the downtown Hires Big H drive-in open to the public and two fundraisers.


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Lisa Riley Roche


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