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Huntsman to chair cancer foundation




NEW YORK--Ten days after dropping out of the GOP race, erstwhile candidate and former Utah governor Jon Huntsman has accepted his next job: chairman of the Salt Lake City-based Huntsman Cancer Foundation.

The foundation announced this morning Huntsman will succeed his father Jon M. Huntsman, who will serve as chairman emeritus.

Huntsman Sr. who founded the namesake organization said his son takes the position "with a wealth of leadership experience."

On the campaign trail, Huntsman often touted his experience "running a cancer institute" when answering questions from voters about his experience. He also regularly invoked the idea of cancer in his stump speeches.

"We have a cancer metastasizing in this country," Huntsman said hundreds of times across New Hampshire. "It's called debt."

"His unparalleled international reputation and experience will greatly enhance the life-saving work in which the Foundation is engaged," his father noted in a statement. "We join together with the entire Huntsman Cancer Institute team of more than 1,300 full-time faculty and staff in welcoming Jon to this new position."

This comes after the younger Huntsman told a voter at a GOP breakfast on Charleston's Daniel Island that his father "is not well." The elder Huntsman -- who was expected to bankroll his son's presidential bid via Our Destiny PAC -- attended his son's primary night celebration in New Hampshire and his announcement to leave the race in South Carolina.

Huntsman Jr., who dropped out on January 16, endorsed Mitt Romney after struggling to gain traction in the polls. He finished a distant third place in the New Hampshire primary after centering his entire campaign efforts in the Granite State. Unlike Romney's other major surrogates including former GOP rival Tim Pawlenty however, Huntsman is not expected to play a major role in Romney's national efforts, after recording a targeted auto-dial message to moderate voters in South Carolina shortly after dropping out.

Huntsman's new role is perhaps one of several he may assume in the coming months. Many have speculated what the future holds for the well-credentialed Huntsman, who has served in three Republican administrations and most recently as President Obama's top envoy to China.

This is also a return to the foundation for Huntsman, who served as an executive when the foundation was first launched by his father in 1995.

According to a release from the organization, the Huntsman Cancer Foundation is a cancer research center that provides patient care, education and outreach for ways to prevent and treat cancer, and "the only National Cancer Institute-designated cancer center in the entire Intermountain West."