Huntsman, Perry and Romney boycott Univision debate amid report network pressured Rubio

Holly Bailey

Rick Perry, Mitt Romney and Jon Huntsman are boycotting an upcoming 2012 primary debate sponsored by Univision over allegations the network publicized an embarrassing story about Florida Sen. Marco Rubio because he wouldn't agree to an interview.

As the Miami Herald's Marc Caputo reports:

They made their announcement at the behest of three Florida Hispanic Republican lawmakers who noted that the senator's office and Univision insiders said Univision publicized an embarrassing story about Rubio's brother in law because he wouldn't sit down for an interview on the show Al Punto, which has espoused a liberal line on the hot-topic of immigration.

Univision has denied the allegations, which were first reported by the Miami Herald on Sunday. But sources close to Rubio and the network have insisted the back and forth is true.

So Perry, Huntsman and Romney have sided with Rubio and say they won't participate in the Univision debate, which had been tentatively scheduled for January, unless the network addresses what Perry's campaign described as an "ethical breach." And Caputo reports that other GOP hopefuls are expected to join the boycott as well.

Their loyalty to Rubio is notable, not just because he's a expected to be a key endorsement ahead of Florida's GOP primary but also because he's been frequently mentioned as a possible vice-presidential pick for the eventual Republican nominee.