Mike Huckabee says value voters have coalesced around his campaign.
DURHAM, New Hampshire (CNN) - Following a five kilometer morning run at the University of New Hampshire Saturday, former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee told students and reporters that while there may be division among evangelical leaders, there is no division among the "grassroots rank and file."
This statement comes after three key endorsements this week to three separate presidential candidates: Sen. Sam Brownback to John McCain, Christian Coalition founder, Pat Robertson to New York Mayor Rudy Giuliani and Donald Wildmon of the American Family Association for Huckabee.
Huckabee remains a "dark horse" in the republican field but his campaign has gained traction by growing support among the hotly contested social conservative voting block. Huckabee points to his performance in the three Value Voters straw polls as an indication that he has a solid command over the key demographic.
"Among the troops, there is no division, there is a clear consensus and they have coalesced around me," Huckabee said. "Some of the people who are the heads of organizations are scattered but their people aren't. Frankly when it gets down to it, having the people is going to be more important than having the leader." He then added, "If I have the choice between one leader and 50 thousand followers, I'll take the 50 thousand followers any day."
Huckabee also told reporters he wished he had received Pat Robertson's endorsement and and was surprised that he had given his backing to New York Mayor Rudy Giuliani.
"That was a real surprise and it apparently surprised a lot of his supporters as well," Huckabee, a former pastor said. "There was a lot of anger directed towards Pat and feeling like he had abandoned core principles that he had always adhered to, but you know it's his choice and I respect it, wish I could have had his endorsement but didn't. But again, I'll take his people any day."
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- CNN New Hampshire Producer Sareena Dalla