Former two-term Arkansas governor Mike Huckabee said Saturday that he was ending his cable television show to look at a possible run for the White House next year. He made the announcement during the “Huckabee” show on the Fox News Channel.
Huckabee, who served as governor from 1996 after the resignation of then-Governor Jim Guy Tucker until early 2007, ran for the Republican nomination in 2008. He won the Iowa caucus that year, but later lost to eventual nominee Sen. John McCain.
McCain then lost the general election to then Sen. Barack Obama, D-Illinois, who also won reelection in 2012 against Republican Mitt Romney.
Just minutes before the show aired on Fox News Channel, Huckabee released a 100-word statement through spokesman Alice Stewart. Huckabee said in the statement that the decision was difficult.
“Tonight I will do more than just say goodnight. I will say goodbye. This is the last edition of ‘Huckabee’ on the Fox News Channel. It’s been the ride of a lifetime, and I have never had so much fun in my life. But I also realize that God hasn’t put me on earth just to have a good time or to make a good living, but rather has put me on earth to try to make a good life,” Huckabee said.
“There has been a great deal of speculation as to whether I would run for President. If I were willing to absolutely rule that out, I could keep doing this show. But I can’t make such a declaration. I won’t make a decision about running until late in the spring of 2015, but the continued chatter has put Fox News into a position that is not fair to them nor is it possible for me to openly determine political and financial support to justify a race. The honorable thing to do at this point is to end my tenure here at Fox. As much as I have loved doing the show, I cannot bring myself to rule out another Presidential run. So as we say in television, stay tuned!” Huckabee said.
Huckabee also thanked the staff of his show and Fox News head Roger Ailes for their support during the show.
TB&P blogger Jason Tolbert weighed in with his thoughts on a possible Huckabee run. Read his full take at this link.
As for a timetable on whether or not to run, Huckabee said during the broadcast that he will make a decision by late spring 2015.
He is also expected to visit several states in the next month or so, discussing the possible run with voters as well discussing a new book, “God, Guns, Grits and Gravy.”
Huckabee will be in Des Moines, Iowa Jan. 24 to speak at the Iowa Freedom Summit. Several other possible Republican candidates, including New Jersey Governor Chris Christie, Sen. Ted Cruz, R-Texas, Ben Carson and outgoing Texas Governor Rick Perry, are also expected to speak at the event.
The day before, he will be in Cedar Rapids, Iowa and will visit Knoxville, Tenn., and New York City on the book tour, according to his Facebook page.
In addition to Facebook, the Twitter pages of several state and national political figures lit up with comments about Huckabee’s announcement of a possible run.
“Excited to see Gov. Mike Huckabee take this step towards a possible presidential run,” Channing Pejic, who worked with the campaign of Attorney General-elect Leslie Rutledge, said on Twitter.
Liberal blogger Matt Campbell with The Blue Hog Report took an opposing view.
“Considering Huckabee could win GOP nom (nomination) but has zero chance of winning general, I actually hope he does run,” Campbell said.
“Gov. Mike Huckabee becomes one of, if not the, GOP frontrunner(s) for 2016,” tweeted Clint Reed, GOP strategist with Little Rock-based Impact Management Group. Reed mentioned potential advantages for Huckabee including his expected strength in the Iowa Caucus, the early nature of the South Carolina primary, and a movement to create an early Super Southern states primary.
However, two people – a national political journalist and a longtime supporter of former President Bill Clinton – said no one should underestimate Huckabee if he enters.
“In 2008 Iowa caucuses, Gov. Mike Huckabee got 40k votes. In a ’16 field w/10+ candidates, that # would win easily & Huck ppl (people) are loyal,” Mark Halperin of Bloomberg Politics said on his Twitter account. “Most underrated ‘16ers – Gov. Mike Huckabee and Gov. PenceIN (Mike Pence).”
“If Gov. Mike Huckabee runs in 2016, he starts w/a strong nucleus – Sarah Huckabee, SandersBryan, JHogan Gidley – of talented young people,” Skip Rutherford said in a tweet.
Arkansas may have two candidates running for the presidency next year. In addition to Huckabee, former First Lady and Sen. Hillary Clinton is also considering a run for the Democratic nod.