ABOARD THE ELECTION EXPRESS (CNN) – Former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee is often mentioned in the same sentence as Kansas Sen. Sam Brownback, but Huckabee made clear Thursday he has no immediate plans to join his rival in abandoning a bid for the Republican presidential nomination.
Huckabee, who competed fiercely with Brownback for support from social conservatives, has had a difficult time competing with the frontrunners in both raising money and registering in the polls.
"It's not about the money, it's about the message," Huckabee said in an interview with CNN Chief National Correspondent John King in New Hampshire. "Our message is resonating and the more the message resonates, the more the money comes in. We are in a position where we have only seen one direction, we've gone up. And I am confident that will continue to happen as we approach the Iowa caucuses."
Brownback will officially drop out of the race on Friday, because his campaign never caught fire.
The former Arkansas governor received what was thought to be a big boost to his campaign in August when he came in a surprise second place in the Iowa Republican straw poll. It still remains to be seen if the victory will help Huckabee in the Iowa caucuses. Huckabee acknowledges he needs to win, place or show on Jan. 3.
"There are three tickets out of Iowa - first class, business, and coach," Huckabee said. "We've got to be on that plane."
If Huckabee fails to win his party’s presidential nomination, don’t expect him to support a third party candidate even if the eventual nominee is former New York City Mayor Rudy Giuliani. The former mayor, who right now is leading in the national polls, has taken positions on some issues that are opposed by social conservatives.
"I think what that does is similar to what happened in 1992 when Ross Perot came in,” Huckabee said. “It would insure the election of yet another Clinton. We'd potentially have 28 years with only two families in the White House - I don't think that's a good idea either."
Huckabee added, "I think a third party candidate is not going to win, and I'm not sure why we would put the effort when the effort ultimately results in somebody that we want even less than we may want Rudy Giuliani," he added.
- CNN Ticker Producer Alexander Mooney