FORT WORTH, Texas (CNN) - Up against the ropes and in need of a good showing in Tuesday’s Texas primary to justify staying in the race, Huckabee told reporters in Lubbock Friday that his presidential bid will continue if John McCain fails to clinch the nomination on March 4.
“I guess we keep plugging away,” said Huckabee, “as long as people are contributing and giving us the capacity to keep going and we haven’t been defeated by the number of delegates that are required to beat us, then we’re still in it.”
Asked specifically what his plans are after the March 4 primaries in Texas, Ohio, Rhode Island and Vermont, Huckabee said he would go to Mississippi and Pennsylvania since they hold the next contests. He also noted that after Tuesday, the primary calendar is much more spread out.
Huckabee has argued in recent days that not only does McCain not have enough delegates yet for the nomination, but also that the Arizona senator may be unable to campaign between now and September, should the Federal Elections Commission rule he is subject to spending limits.
Asked if a sidelined McCain would benefit him, Huckabee responded, “[It’s] only good for me if nobody’s gotten those delegate counts because I could go ahead and campaign and he couldn’t.”
The former Arkansas governor has staked his future in the race on succeeding in Texas, but polls show him trailing McCain by almost 30 percentage points.
“We’re doing everything I know how to do, we’re hitting every community, every rally, our television [ads] went up,” Huckabee told CNN, “and you know, we’re feeling that we’re going to close that gap.”
– CNN Political Producer Alexander Marquardt