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Utah Attorney General Mark Shurtleff is endorsing Mitt Romney's presidential campaign over that of former Gov. Jon Huntsman Jr., whom Shurtleff served with for five years.

"I want to get behind the guy who has the best chance of winning, and I don't think that's Jon," Shurtleff said Thursday, noting he still likes Huntsman. "It's not an anti-Huntsman thing; it's a pro-Romney thing."

Shurtleff will appear with Romney at Hires Big H in Salt Lake City Friday afternoon as the former Massachusetts governor visits the state. Romney is also doing two fundraisers in Utah, where he snatched an astounding 90 percent of the Republican presidential primary vote in 2008.

In that cycle, Shurtleff had joined with Huntsman to offer their support to Sen. John McCain's presidential bid, bucking a trend with many state leaders who backed Romney. Romney, who is Mormon and ran the successful 2002 Winter Olympics in Salt Lake City, still has strong support in the Beehive State.

Romney said he was proud to grab Shurtleff's support.

"I look forward to working with someone who has represented Utah in such a vital role over the past decade," Romney said in a statement. "He will be a strong partner during my campaign to create jobs and reverse President Obama's failed policies."

Shurtleff — who submitted an opinion piece to The Tribune to detail his endorsement — said he backed McCain early in the 2008 process before Romney got in, but this time around, Shurtleff says he wants to pick the right candidate.

"It's my chance to get behind the right guy this time," Shurtleff said. "I think he's positioned to be the best president, the best person to beat Barack Obama."

Huntsman campaign spokesman Tim Miller declined to comment on the endorsement. Huntsman had planned to visit Utah on Friday but postponed the trip until Tuesday because of logistical concerns, aides said.