Jon Huntsman (photo: saucy_pan via Flickr)

Jon Huntsman, the Mormon former Governor of Utah chosen by Barack Obama to be his ambassador to China, has resigned, effective April 30th, CNN is reporting.

U.S. ambassador to China Jon Huntsman submitted a hand-delivered letter of resignation to President Obama Monday, effective April 30th, according to two senior administration officials.

The news comes amid speculation that the former Utah governor will run for the 2012 GOP presidential nomination.

From that “amid speculation” link above:

But Republican strategists backing Huntsman – a former Utah governor now serving as U.S. Ambassador to China – say there is room for a “center-right” presidential candidate as the rest of the early GOP field races to the right.

“Everybody is gaming out 2012 as if it will be 2010, and it’s not,” said one Republican laying the groundwork for a Huntsman bid, should he decide to enter the race.

The adviser stressed that Huntsman is not involved in the details of setting up a potential campaign.

Politico ran with a “White House expects Huntsman to resign early in 2011” post earlier Monday.

GOP allies of Huntsman have already begun laying plans for a quick-start campaign should the former Utah governor decide to enter the ill-defined Republican field.

While Huntsman has no direct involvement in it, a group of operatives that could eventually comprise his strategy team has set up an entity called “Horizon PAC” to serve as a placeholder for his political apparatus.

Teddy Partridge

Teddy Partridge