Huckabee, second from left, plays with his band, Capital Offense as an Elvis impersonator from Duncan Hunter's campaign helps out with a rendition of Johnny-Be-Good Saturday.
WASHINGTON (CNN) - In the battle for the republican nomination - Mitt Romney did what he was expected to do - -win this weekend's straw poll in Ames, Iowa. But the guy who came in second could be the real success story. And that guy is Mike Huckabee.
The former Arkansas governor is not a household name. He even admits it. "I know I'm relatively unknown to the national scene,” says Huckabee.
Huckabee’s also not your typical politician. He’s an ordained Baptist minister who plays guitar in a rock and roll band. He performed for his supporters Saturday at Ames. And now, thanks to a strong second place finish at the Iowa Republican presidential straw poll - he's getting some attention.
Huckabee opposes abortion rights - and he's against legalizing gay marriage. That could play well with social conservatives who may have problems with Republican candidates much higher up in the polls. "When people say we're just dissatisfied with the field that may be the top of the field but now they're beginning to realize there's another candidate out there and they don't have to keep waiting on Fred Thompson to get in the race,” says Huckabee.
“It was a big win for Huckabee in Iowa, because his polling numbers have consistently been in the low single digits in most national and state surveys,” says CNN Political Editor Mark Preston. “To prove that Saturday's strong showing wasn't a fluke, Huckabee must now show he can raise the millions of dollars needed to be a top flight candidate."
While Huckabee's star may be rising - it's just opposite for Tommy Thompson. " You play the game. Some people win, some people lose. I happen to be on the losing end this time,” said the former Wisconsin Governor and Bush Administration cabinet secretary as he dropped out of the race for the White House on Sunday.
Thompson' campaigned heavily in Iowa the past few months. He said he needed a second place finish in the straw poll - and he didn't come close.
"I had my chance and it didn't come out the way I thought it was going to but that's life."
Only 14,000 people actually voted in this weekend’s Iowa Republican straw poll. And the various campaigns bused many of those people in, and paid for their fees to vote. So while the results from the straw poll are interesting, lets keep them in perspective.
And remember, the Iowa caucuses, which kick off the presidential primary season, are still five long months away.
- CNN Deputy Political Editor Paul Steinhauser