SALT LAKE CITY -- The choice of Rex Tillerson, CEO of Exxon Mobil Corp, as Secretary of State in the incoming Trump administration leaves two top candidates, both Utahns, on the outside looking in at the first Republican administration in eight years.
Mitt Romney and Jon Huntsman Jr. were both strong candidates for the plum position, says Kirk Jowers, a former D.C. election attorney who advised five presidential campaigns.
"Each of them have far more diplomatic experience that Mr. Tillerson," Jowers said.
While Huntsman has wide-ranging diplomatic and public service credentials, all indication are Romney came closest to the job, getting a call from Trump on Monday night prior to the official announcement Trump had chosen Tillerson.
Tim Chambless of the Hinckley Institute of Politics is skeptical about Trump’s sincerity when he seemed to court Romney for the job.
"I see it as a chess gambit on the part of Donald Trump to show superiority, to show dominance, that he was indeed the person elected president rather than the nominee of the republican party," said Chambless.