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September 15. 2011 9:49PM

Tom Ridge to endorse Huntsman at St. Anselm

CONCORD — Republican presidential hopeful Jon Huntsman will announce the endorsement of former U.S. Homeland Security Secretary Gov. Tom Ridge Friday in an event at St. Anselm College in Goffstown.

Ridge, a former governor of Pennsylvania, plans to attend a press conference with Huntsman at the college’s New Hampshire Institute for Politics.

In a statement by the Huntsman campaign, Ridge said Thursday that Huntsman is “a serious, insightful leader.”

Huntsman, 51, a former Utah governor and ambassador to China, said he’ll be counting on Ridge for help and counsel.

Ridge was appointed as the first secretary of Homeland Security by President George W. Bush. During the last presidential campaign he worked to support Sen. John McCain.

Ridge said Thursday that Huntsman’s experience as a governor, businessman and ambassador make him “uniquely qualified to lead America to a more secure, prosperous and competitive future. He has the experience we need to rebuild our nation’s economic foundation and reduce our crushing debt.

“I know Jon to be a serious, insightful leader who will bring together people from across the political spectrum to solve the many challenges we face, both at home and around the world.”

Huntsman favors simplification of the tax code, expanded free trade policies, energy independence and the streamlining or elimination of regulations that hamper business. He is considered a moderate among the current crop of Republican presidential candidates, and his campaign has taken off slowly.

Earlier this month, Huntsman fired his local campaign manager. Senior adviser Sarah Crawford Stewart has taken over many of those duties.

Former Executive Councilor and current Merrimack County Commission chairman Peter Spaulding of Hopkinton is Huntsman’s state campaign chairman. Huntsman also has garnered support from several state legislators and former state senators.


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