Huntsman left the governorship in the middle of his second term in 2009 to serve as ambassador to China in the Obama administration. He recently finished a two-year stint as ambassador to Russia under President Trump, which ended when he decided to return to Utah last month. (Huntsman had announced his resignation in August.)
"We've served our country in the top two diplomatic posts in the world," Huntsman said in a campaign video featuring him and his wife Mary Kaye Huntsman. "Now we feel it is time to give back to our home state. Again."
Huntsman unsuccessfully sought the Republican nomination for president in 2012. Earlier in his career, he served as the U.S. Ambassador to Singapore under President George H.W. Bush.
Huntsman joins a crowded field that already includes Utah Lt. Governor Spencer Cox, Salt Lake County Council Chair Aimee Winder-Newton, businessman Jeff Burningham, and Jason Christensen, who has run for various positions in the past.