Jon Huntsman will drop out of the
Republican presidential nominating contest on Monday and throw his
support behind Mitt Romney, the AP reported.
Huntsman will make his announcement
during an event in South Carolina on Monday morning, according to
campaign officials who spoke on condition of anonymity.
The 51-year-old former governor of Utah
placed third last week in New Hampshire behind first place finisher
Romney and Texas Rep. Ron Paul.
Huntsman, who has struggled to remain a
viable candidate, is considered the gay friendliest candidate among
the GOP field's six strongest contenders.
Former New Mexico Governor Gary Johnson
strongly endorsed gay marriage shortly before he switched party
affiliation from the GOP to the Libertarian Party, whose presidential
nomination he is now seeking. Fred Karger is the only GOP
presidential candidate in favor of gay marriage, but his low polling
numbers have locked him out of all Republican debates.
Huntsman has spoken in favor of civil
unions for gay and lesbian couples and a state's right to decide on
the issue of marriage equality.