Republican presidential candidate Jon Huntsman was endorsed in New Hampshire today by former U.S. Homeland Security Secretary Gov. Tom Ridge. In a statement released by the campaign, Ridge said Huntsman's "significant experience and statesmanship already signal ten times over that he is ready to take on the complex challenges facing the country and meet the demands of America's leadership with the rest of the world." Huntsman himself Tweeted just before the event at Saint Anselm College in Manchester that he's honored to be receiving the endorsement from an "accomplished statesman" such as Ridge.
Ridge was selected by President George W. Bush after the attacks of 9/11 to run the Office of Homeland Security. Like Huntsman who was twice elected to lead a state (Utah) as governor, Ridge served as governor of Pennsylvania. Ridge indicated a few months ago he would favor problem solving skills of a governor in the presidential race.
Also popping for the campaign, it revealed leaders of its youth and young professionals program, GenH (shorthand for Generation Huntsman). GenH chairman Jeb Bush Jr. appointed Zach Howell, the former chairman of the College Republican National Committee, as the on-staff director. Mary Anne Huntsman, the governor's oldest daughter, is heading up the young professional finance program. According to the campaign, the outreach program targets 18-35 year-olds with 139 campus chapters in 42 states.
Earlier in the week, the campaign named business and economic advisers. John Mack, current executive chairman of the board of Morgan Stanley, will chair the campaign's Business Advisory Council. The council will focus on the economy, business and jobs. Phil Knight, co-founder and chairman of Nike, Inc. will also be one of its members. It makes sense because Huntsman served as Ambassador to China before jumping into the race. Nike has contracts with approximately 162 factories in China and the country accounts for nine percent of the company's revenues.
Fox News Researcher Michael Campbell contributed to this report.