DALLAS, Texas (CNN) – Mike Huckabee struck an optimistic note as he visited voters at a Dallas polling station Tuesday morning, but said no matter what the results are, he will spend Wednesday at home in Little Rock, Arkansas pondering his next move.
“After tonight, regardless of the outcome, whether we win or if we don't, we've got to sit down tomorrow, and tomorrow's going to be a day of sort of looking at the landscape and seeing what's ahead and where do we go from here,” Huckabee told reporters.
The former Arkansas governor has staked his future in this race on Texas, spending far more time here than in Ohio, Rhode Island and Vermont which are also voting Tuesday. He argues that Texas conservatives have an “independent streak” that he believes will cause them to buck the national trend and rally around him because of the issues that differentiate him from Republican presidential rival John McCain.
Polls indicate otherwise, giving McCain a significant lead not only in Texas but in all March 4 states, and has accumulated nearly enough delegates to officially clinch the GOP nomination. Nevertheless, Huckabee remains hopeful.
"We think it’s going to be a good day for us in Texas, we’re very encouraged by the activity we’ve had the last few days,” said Huckabee. “We’re going to remain very optimistic that this could be a big day and win Texas."
Huckabee has often questioned whether McCain can energize the base of the party, and Tuesday warned that if McCain is the nominee that will be one of his toughest tasks.
“If John McCain is the nominee, I think Republicans will support him,” Huckabee told CNN. “Will they line up and do what they have historically done that causes us to win rather than lose elections, which is the knocking on the doors and making the phone calls? That's going to be the challenge he'll have. He'll have to reach out and make those voters believe that he cares and will champion their issues, otherwise it'll be a tough sell.”
– CNN Political Producer Alexander Marquardt