Huntsman announces GOP bid to return as Utah governor

Huntsman announces GOP bid to return as Utah governor
FILE - In this May 30, 2018 file photo, Jon Huntsman Jr., U.S. ambassador to Russia, arrives at the security checkpoint entrance of the White House in Washington. Huntsman on Thursday, Nov. 14, 2019, announced his 2020 candidacy for the Republican nomination for the office that he held from 2005 to 2009 before leaving to serve as a U.S. ambassador. Huntsman announced his candidacy in a statement before a scheduled kickoff swing Thursday and Friday to Cedar City and St. George in southern Utah. (AP Photo/Pablo Martinez Monsivais, File)

SALT LAKE CITY (AP) — Former U.S. ambassador to Russia Jon Huntsman Jr. is making a play to reclaim his old seat as Utah governor.

Huntsman announced his candidacy in a statement Thursday, ahead of a scheduled kickoff swing through southern Utah.

Huntsman served in the office from 2005 to 2009, before leaving to serve as U.S. ambassador to China in the Obama administration. He mounted a brief run for president in 2011 and later served as Russia ambassador under President Donald Trump for two years before stepping down last month.

Incumbent Republican Gov. Gary Herbert is not running for re-election. The race has already attracted several other GOP candidates in the conservative state, including Lt. Gov. Spencer Cox, businessman Jeff Burningham, and Salt Lake County Councilwoman Aimee Winder Newton.