Huckabee announces he will not seek presidency
May 14th, 2011
08:54 PM ET
4 years ago

Huckabee announces he will not seek presidency

Washington (CNN) - Former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee announced Saturday that he will not seek the GOP nomination for president in 2012.

Huckabee ended speculation that he would run for president during his weekly Fox News Channel show saying, "All the factors say go, but my heart says no. And that's the decision that I have made."

Indications had been mounting recently that the 2008 presidential candidate would not pursue a repeat bid for the Republican nomination for president.

He switched his residency to Florida, where he and his wife have built a home, he co-founded a company with the mission of teaching history lessons to children, and key 2008 aides moved to other campaign teams, including those of former Pawlenty and Minnesota Rep. Michele Bachmann.

Huckabee also failed to form a presidential exploratory committee, a critical first step in building a presidential campaign.

And with a successful television show, book deals and lucrative paid appearances, another presidential bid may be less desirable for the television and radio host - even though he's topped recent major national polls as the favored 2012 GOP candidate.

Though Huckabee asserted as recently as late April that his supporters should not make decisions based on his indecision, Saturday's announcement settles the question once and for all.

And he admitted, "The past few months have been a time of deep, personal reflection."

"I don't have an issue with my family being supportive. My wife actually has encouraged me to do it despite knowing full well that it would subject her and the rest of the family to some savage and brutal personal attacks," Huckabee said.

"I don't expect everyone to understand this ... For me the discussion and decision is ultimately not a political one, it's not a financial one, it's not even a practical one, it's a spiritual one."

He discussed the support for a potential bid and how it influenced his decision, though ultimately encouragement was not enough.

"When I'm with people encouraging me to run it's easy to feel their strength and their partnership and commitment to help me to the finish line," he said.

"But only when I was alone did I have not only clarity, but an inexplicable inner peace."

"All the factors say go, but my heart says no. And that's the decision that I have made. And in it I've finally found some resolution."

Now that he has chosen not to run, two potentially influential questions remain: whom will he support and whom will his supporters back as a second choice.

Another former governor stands to gain from Huckabee's absence in the GOP pool of presidential candidates. The most recent CNN/Opinion Research poll indicates that more Republicans would throw their weight behind former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney without Huckabee in the running for a GOP nomination. Of those polled, 19% said they'd back Romney if Huckabee did not run and 15% said they'd choose real estate mogul Donald Trump.

His decision to skip the race for the White House clears the way for some potential candidates, some of whom released statements right after the announcement.

"This might be considered by some people, not necessarily me, bad news because he is a terrific guy - and frankly, I think he would be a terrific president," Trump said. "But a lot of people are very happy that he will not be running, especially other candidates."

"It is unfortunate that we will not have his voice - or his bass guitar - in the presidential debate, as our party would have benefited from his involvement," former Utah Gov. Jon Huntsman said in a statement.

Newt Gingrich said "there is no question" Huckabee would have been a frontrunner.

"He has achieved that prominence without a campaign simply based on his personal appeal and the attractiveness of his views and his character," Gingrich said.

He is "an important leader" within the GOP, according to former Minnesota Gov. Tim Pawlenty.

"Mike and I agree our nation is facing big challenges and desperately needs new leadership," he said.

Former U.S. Senator Rick Santorum said he looked forward to discussing with Huckabee and his supporters the "shared commitment to fight for traditional values and the rights granted to us by our forefathers."

Huckabee pledged to support other Republican candidates, even though he's out of the race.

"I can't know or predict the future but I know for now my answer is clear and simple," he said.

"I will not seek the Republican nomination for president. I'm going to gladly do what I continue to do and help others with their campaigns."

"I had come to believe that I would be in the race for president. But I won't be."


Filed under: 2012 • Mike Huckabee
soundoff (249 Responses)
  1. HF74

    I present to you, Obama's second term.

    May 14, 2011 10:10 pm at 10:10 pm |
  2. Obama 2012

    Good. He would not have won anyway.

    May 14, 2011 10:13 pm at 10:13 pm |
  3. rhumba

    The republicans continue to make the presidency seem like a reality TV competition. If they want to be considered for the nomination, why don't they just come out and say so? The likes of Huckabee, Palin, and Trump are using the drama to build audiences for their TV shows.

    May 14, 2011 10:13 pm at 10:13 pm |
  4. Max

    The reason he says he won't run is because he can't win More people than the people who work at Fox news usually vote in these elections.

    May 14, 2011 10:14 pm at 10:14 pm |
  5. Paul Mark Simmons

    Governor Huckabee is a true Statesman and he knows that the main stream press and the Democratic party are so dirty, dishonest, and biased that it would be unfairly brutal on his family to run. He is already doing great things for our country and is dearly loved by millions. Our Nation's Founders would be proud of what Governor Huckabee has decided. He would have been a great President, but he is doing far more now, for the people than the President will ever do.

    May 14, 2011 10:14 pm at 10:14 pm |
  6. Alina77

    For the first time "I have no words", I am "wordless" and "thankful" to this dude fot not making a lying fool out of himself even more.
    Thank you "dude"

    May 14, 2011 10:15 pm at 10:15 pm |
  7. Chuck

    I'm probably going to vote for Obama, but I'm not against voting Republican if they put the right person in the chair. I wish there were some less radical, more level-headed republicans out there. Ron Paul's my favorite, but he's got some serious quirks that I don't think most people could really live with.

    May 14, 2011 10:15 pm at 10:15 pm |
  8. mechanic

    good nobody could ever beat barack obama he is just like harry truman and lindon johnson in a nutshelli would follow him to the ends of the earth

    May 14, 2011 10:17 pm at 10:17 pm |
  9. Chad

    Man, very sad. I'm a HUGE supporter of Huckabee, and I think he can make a big difference for us. I can only hope he will choose to run in a future campaign...or maybe even be a Vice Presidential candidate!

    May 14, 2011 10:20 pm at 10:20 pm |
  10. M

    WOW what a surprise – you could tell from his face he was not running...

    May 14, 2011 10:21 pm at 10:21 pm |
  11. Pat

    "I don’t have an issue with my family being supportive. My wife actually has encouraged me to do it despite knowing full well that it would subject her and the rest of the family to some savage and brutal personal attacks," Huckabee said.

    I don't think he was electable anyway so this is good for republicans. Unfortunately, this is the state of politics right now. It happens on the lefft and right. However, the venom and hate spewed from the left is far more brutal.

    May 14, 2011 10:21 pm at 10:21 pm |
  12. Francisco Cardenas

    "I will not seek the Republican nomination for president. I’m going to gladly do what I continue to do and help others with their campaigns" ... and he will do this on his FOX show!!

    May 14, 2011 10:22 pm at 10:22 pm |
  13. Shayne from NH

    I'm very impressed. Humble, down to Earth and probably the most honest thing I've ever heard a politician say.

    May 14, 2011 10:23 pm at 10:23 pm |
  14. labman57

    Wise decision.

    Of course, this will not deter him from continuing his role as a societal snake oil salesman, hawking his sanctimonious sense of morality as a cure to all of our nation's problems.

    May 14, 2011 10:24 pm at 10:24 pm |
  15. SA in OO

    Is it just me or does this guy look like Deputy Dawg?
    Who would vote for a face like that?

    May 14, 2011 10:24 pm at 10:24 pm |
  16. mtrought

    He realise that to waste money going after Obama does not make any sense especially after he got Osama. It is just simply spiritual mathematics eh Huck Finn. If I were GOP I wouldnt be spending my money to go against Obama it would be just silly but if some silly ppl wanted to spend their money on me then fine and we have quite a few of these ppl in the GOP ranks. I wish Donald would spend some of his ill gotten gain and run wouldnt that be justice – especially for Gadafi the man he said he screwed

    May 14, 2011 10:24 pm at 10:24 pm |
  17. anagram_kid

    I guess this means God thinks he is a lost cause. It must be awful when even your imaginary friend rejects you.

    May 14, 2011 10:24 pm at 10:24 pm |
  18. C. Howe Yulikit

    Translation: I know I won't win and the Fox Gravy Train is too lucrative. Will wait til 2016 when I can bash Obama after his second term and not have to back any of my BS with facts or rebuttal.

    May 14, 2011 10:26 pm at 10:26 pm |
  19. tRoBb

    I guess he's not as dumb as he looks.

    May 14, 2011 10:26 pm at 10:26 pm |
  20. Karen

    He is the only one on the right that is likeable. l wonder who pressured him not to run.

    May 14, 2011 10:27 pm at 10:27 pm |
  21. Clwyd

    Thank god! We will be spared from just another republican loony!

    May 14, 2011 10:28 pm at 10:28 pm |
  22. Anthony... proud tax payer

    Smart man. Someone knows it would take a near perfect track record, a likable personality, and no tv show on Fox to beat Osama-Killer-Obama. He might be the smartest of the bunch.

    May 14, 2011 10:29 pm at 10:29 pm |
  23. Kelly

    Good decision. I was a supporter until he refused to accept any responsibility for releasing an animal that killed FOUR Police Officers in my state.

    May 14, 2011 10:30 pm at 10:30 pm |
  24. Dave D

    I'm not surprised, and I don't think he could win. I like Huckabee's stance on a number of issues, but I know that his basing much of his politics on Christianity is a turn off to a number of people, although I don't fully understand why. Also, I think he's a little too goofy to be taken seriously enough to be POTUS.

    May 14, 2011 10:34 pm at 10:34 pm |
  25. querida

    it was the spiritual decision, that told him, you gonna lose big.

    May 14, 2011 10:35 pm at 10:35 pm |
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