MIAMI (CBS4) – CBS 4 Anchor Shannon Hori recently did an exclusively interview with Mary Kaye Huntsman, the wife of GOP Presidential candidate Jon Huntsman. The aim wasn’t to talk about her husband’s proposed policies, but rather to get her perspective on what life on the campaign trail is like.
While the candidates are the ones in the spotlight, the spouses are also under a lot of pressure.
On the night of this week’s presidential debate in California, Mary Kaye Huntsman had to watch from the couple’s Washington, DC home. She had planned to be there, but the flight didn’t take off on time.
“I was trying to juggle getting my kids to school, it was the first day of school. And then being there for my husband at night, and there was one flight I could take. As it got delayed longer and longer, I realized it wasn’t going to happen,” she said.
Life has been very busy for Mary Kaye since her husband of 28 years entered the GOP Presidential race in June.
They met at a pie shop in Utah when they were teenagers. “I was a salad girl and he was the dishwasher,” she laughs.
Jon Huntsman would later become the Governor of that state. He was later named Ambassador to China.
These days Mary Kaye spends half the week on the campaign trail and the other half of the week at home. They are parents to seven kids ranging in age from 5-years to 23-years. The two youngest are adopted, one from China and the other from India.
Mary Kaye was raised Episcopalian, but converted to her husband’s religion of Mormonism.
“For people who wonder about us, we are a very spiritual family,” she said. “We try to raise our children to have a respect and understanding of all faiths.”
Mary Kaye grew up in Orlando. And now two of their older children live in Central Florida. She was a big part of the campaign’s decision to base the Huntsman headquarters in Orlando.
“The fact that Florida is such an important state in this whole process I think you just bring it home. And whoever wins here ends up being the nominee and that’s the way it’s been in the past. It’s a very important state,” Mary Kaye said.
Mary Kaye is aware of her husband’s current standing in the polls. He is not near the top or garnering the most media attention. She says she’s remaining confident and so is their 12-year old daughter.
“My husband calls Gracie his senior advisor and she said Daddy, you’re the tortoise and the hare. Slow and steady wins the race,” Mary Kaye said. “She’s a very perceptive girl.”
Mary Kaye celebrated her 50th birthday Saturday. She said her gift is having the headquarters in Florida because she loves this state but didn’t know it would take a presidential election to get her to come back here so frequently.