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Jon Huntsman Sr. — an industrialist, philanthropist and lifelong Republican — is endorsing Rep. Jim Matheson, calling him a conservative Democrat who "represents our state very well."

The endorsement was announced in a news release Friday afternoon.

"The Matheson and Huntsman families have enjoyed three generations of respected association," Huntsman said in the prepared statement. "[Rep. Jim Matheson] is a conservative 'Blue Dog' congressional leader from Utah who represents our state very well."

Matheson, a six-term incumbent, is running in Utah's new 4th Congressional District against Saratoga Springs Mayor Mia Love.

The congressman praised Huntsman's "remarkable legacy of public service."

"My family and his family have long shared the values of giving back to the community and working in a bipartisan way to solve problems and achieve progress. I am very proud to have his endorsement in my congressional race."

David Huntsman, son of Jon Huntsman Sr. and president and CEO of the Huntsman Cancer Foundation, also endorsed Matheson.

Former Utah Gov. Jon Huntsman, an unsuccessful candidate for president, was not mentioned in the news release.

Neither the Matheson campaign nor Huntsman public affairs had information on whether the former governor will make an endorsement in the 4th District contest.

Abby Huntsman, the former governor's daughter and a political commentator at, tweeted Friday: "I'm in too! This country needs more bipartisanship."