Huntsman vs. Romney divide at private equity firm?

February 1, 2011, 8:20 PM UTC


Jon Huntsman Jr.

Jon Huntsman Jr. yesterday stepped down as U.S. Ambassador to China, ostensibly to run for the GOP presidential nomination. Let’s assume he runs (better than a 50/50 bet). And let’s also assume Mitt Romney runs (a virtual certainty). In that case, who will the folks at Huntsman Gay Capital Partners support?

The $1.1 billion private equity firm’s eponymous Huntsman is Jon Huntsman Sr., the chemicals magnate whose son served as Utah governor before heading to Beijing.

The firm’s eponymous Gay is Bob Gay, who once worked closely with Romney at Bain Capital. In fact, Gay cut an ad for Romney’s last presidential run – about how Mitt shut down the entire firm when Gay’s teenage daughter went missing, so that the firm’s 50 employees could aid in the search.

A firm insider acknowledged the split allegiances, but added: “The beauty of working at a place like this is that everyone has their own opinion and no one tells you what to do. Who knows where support would go, but there will likely be just as many Obama votes as for either [Huntsman or Romney].”

We’ll be watching the campaign contributions…