U.S. Markets closed

"The Tea Party has completely...ruined the Republican Party": Jon Huntsman Sr.

Aaron Task
Editor in Chief

If the polls hold, 2014 should be a banner year for Republicans. But Jon Hunstman Sr., a self-described "lifelong Republican" and former special assistant to President Richard Nixon, is looking ahead with concern about the Grand Old Party's 2016 prospects.

"The Tea Party has completely captivated and ruined the Republican Party today and they'll show this in 2016," says Hunstman, author of Barefoot to Billionaire. "Unless a Jeb Bush comes in or John Huntsman Jr., the Republicans don't have a prayer."

Related: How the economy will win if Republicans sweep the midterms

In addition to being the founder and executive chairman of the chemical company that bears his name, Huntsman is the father of Jon Huntsman Jr., the former Utah Governor and U.S. Ambassador to China who unsuccessfully sought the GOP nomination in 2012.

Asked whether his son will run again in 2016, Huntsman Sr. says: "I don't think so [but] I wish he'd listen to his father and would run. He's just a bright, wonderful, decent individual who brings people together, who's unifying...who is intelligent and knows the world of foreign policy extremely well."

The patriarch of the Huntsman family had a more terse reply when asked whether a 'moderate' Republican like Huntsman Jr. can win his party's nomination: "Of course not," he says.

As for Jeb Bush, Huntsman says he is "very bright and able" and "would represent the Republican party very well. But I doubt he'll be embraced too heavily by the Tea Party gang."



Tune in: Midterm Mixer with Katie Couric and David Gregory, 11 p.m. EST on Nov. 4

Asked about a hypothetical matchup between Jeb Bush and Hillary Clinton, Huntsman says he "not a great handicapper" but thinks Hillary "would be a fine President."

Reflecting the split within the GOP, Jack Welch told CNBC Monday that Jeb Bush and NJ Governor Chris Christie are "too middle of the road" and says Republicans should "give a hard look to [Sens.] Rand Paul and Ted Cruz" as the party's standard-bearer in 2016.

Another difference between Huntsman Sr. and the former GE chairman: Welch doesn't have anything nice to say about Hillary Clinton.

Aaron Task is Editor-in-Chief of Yahoo Finance. You can follow him on Twitter at @aarontask or email him at altask@yahoo.com.





 [Get the Latest Market Data and News with the Yahoo Finance App]