Huckabee's Heart Says No - The American Spectator | USA News and Politics
Huckabee’s Heart Says No

Former Arkansas Governor Mike Huckabee announced tonight on his Fox News show that he will not run for president in 2012. “All factors say go,” he said. “But my heart says no.” Huckabee catapaulted out of the lower tiers of the 2008 Republican field when his folksy humor, Baptist preacher background, and strong social conservative credentials endeared him to evangelical voters. He won the Iowa caucuses, derailing Mitt Romney’s campaign strategy, and ended up being the main anti-McCain candidate in the late primaries.

But Huckabee struggled with fundraising and failed to generate sufficient appeal beyond his evangelical base, winning little support from economic and national security conservatives. He also made more money than he ever had before in the aftermath of the ’08 race due to his newfound conservative celebrity status. It is still remarkable that Huckabee ran last time around, when he was given little chance, but is taking a pass now, when he was one of the Republican frontrunners and had a hypothetical path to the nomination.

The two immediate beneficiaries are Romney, whose frontrunner status has been cemented, and Newt Gingrich, who will have a clearer path to Republican primary voters in the South and to the right of Romney. Tim Pawlenty may also benefit, as the former Minnesota governor can now woo his fellow evangelicals without any competition from Huckabee. Unless Sarah Palin gets in the race, however, we are currently looking at a GOP presidential field where after Romney, Gingrich, and perhaps Donald Trump, no candidate  consistently outpolls Ron Paul. That’s a very different scenario than 2008, when “Rudy McRomney” and later “Rudy McRompson” started out as the clear top tier.

UPDATE: Pawlenty’s statement on the Huck decision: “Mike Huckabee is a friend and colleague, and an important leader within the Republican Party. Mike and I agree our nation is facing big challenges and desperately needs new leadership, and I plan to work hard to earn the support of the millions of Americans who have supported him. Mary and I wish Mike and Janet all the best.”

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