Abby Huntsman Says Family Will Be 'More Resilient & More Thankful' After Dad's Election Loss in Utah
Former View co-host Abby Huntsman on Monday shared her love and support for dad Jon Huntsman Jr., writing that their family will "sail off into this next chapter more resilient" and "more thankful" following his narrow primary election loss last week.
Huntsman Jr. came in second in the Republican race to be Utah's governor. He came up short behind Lt. Gov. Spencer Cox by less than 10,000 votes — or less than 2 percentage points — according to The New York Times.
The votes were submitted entirely by mail-in ballots and the final results were released on Monday.
Huntsman Jr., 60, conceded the election to Cox, 44, on Monday afternoon, Cox tweeted.
Shortly after, Abby, who left The View in January to join her father's gubernatorial campaign, posted a heartfelt message on Instagram along with a photo of her and her father.
"Working for his campaign was the best decision I’ve made in my professional life, but being his daughter is by far the greatest gift of all," the 34-year-old wrote. "Love this man with all of my heart, and am heartbroken Utah won’t get to see his vision executed."
She continued: "Life is about winning and losing, but I’ve always found that the losing makes us strongest. Our family has grown so much through this experience, only falling more in love with this great state."
Meghan McCain, Abby's friend and former co-host on The View, was among those who commented with a message of support.
"Love you. Love your family," she wrote with a pair of American flag and black heart emojis.
Huntsman Jr. was the governor of Utah from 2005 to 2009 before being named the U.S. ambassador to China under President Barack Obama. He later became the ambassador to Russia while continuing to serve in President Donald Trump's administration before resigning last October with the intention to run again for the Utah's highest-elected office.
"When [wife] Mary Kaye and I returned from our service in Russia, our family decided to throw its hat in the ring," Huntsman Jr. wrote in a statement on Monday, which was included in Abby's post and shared on Twitter. "We were encouraged by many to apply our experience from four decades of public service to help our home state reach its destiny and full potential."
He continued: "Today the race was called, and we accept the will of the people, as is our tradition as Americans. The visions put forward for Utah were very different, and regret that I will not be leading the efforts in moving us towards a new horizon."
The former Utah governor was popular among the state's residents during his four years in office, according to the Associated Press. Because the state's voters largely lean Republican, winning last week's primary race to become the Republican gubernatorial nominee was widely seen as paving the way for a November win in the general election.
Utah's current governor, Gary Herbert, announced shortly after he was re-elected in 2016 that he would not seek another term and endorsed Cox — who first became the state's lieutenant governor under Huntsman Jr.
Huntsman Jr.'s campaign hit a hiccup last month when he and his wife tested positive for the novel coronavirus. Both recovered ahead of last week's election and he was photographed at election night events last Tuesday.
Cox will next face Democratic nominee Chris Peterson in the Nov. 3 general election. Utah has not elected a Democrat as governor in more than 35 years, according to the Times.
As for the Huntsmans, Abby provided a positive outlook on what the family's future holds.
"We will sail off into this next chapter more resilient, more thankful for each other and everyone who supported us on this roller coaster of a journey, and more at peace," she wrote Monday, thanking her dad for his "selflessness," his "character" and "for being my best friend."
She concluded: "Couldn’t be more proud of you today and everyday."