Huckabee announces he will not seek presidency
May 14th, 2011
08:54 PM ET
3 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. Joel Davis

    Huckabee wasn't fooling anyone who was paying attention – it was obvious he wasn't going to run. He's making way too much money on Fox and the lecture circuit peddling his brand of right-wing "Christian" snake oil to give up it for a hopeless presidential campaign.

    May 14, 2011 11:00 pm at 11:00 pm |
  2. Doodad

    Finally some good news.
    Maybe now we stand a chance of getting Hussin out of office

    May 14, 2011 11:02 pm at 11:02 pm |
  3. BrofromtheO

    Breaking news? More like good news.

    May 14, 2011 11:04 pm at 11:04 pm |
  4. Erick

    I believe President Obama will have the second terms. Obama 2012!

    May 14, 2011 11:05 pm at 11:05 pm |
  5. Anonymous

    in other news: Huckabee wants to keep making money fist over fist

    May 14, 2011 11:06 pm at 11:06 pm |
  6. Patrick from Minnesota

    Maybe it's better that he didn't. Remember seperation of Church and State?

    May 14, 2011 11:06 pm at 11:06 pm |
  7. Justin

    Thank you Huckabee, I hope your other GOP counterparts realize that they just can't beat OBAMA. That's what he should have said. good riddens.

    May 14, 2011 11:07 pm at 11:07 pm |
  8. CSM

    That's encouraging. One small step for America, one giant step for mankind. Next...

    May 14, 2011 11:08 pm at 11:08 pm |
  9. FLATULANT KING

    HUCKABERRY realizes the REPUBS are on the sinking ship and he would rather watch the disater from the sidelines. Who could blame him, with the pool of current canidates they have would make for one helleva reality show.

    May 14, 2011 11:08 pm at 11:08 pm |
  10. Future expat

    "he co-founded a company with the mission of teaching history lessons to children"

    That line should read, "he co-founded a company with the mission of teaching REVISIONIST history to children."

    May 14, 2011 11:09 pm at 11:09 pm |
  11. okiedokie

    Although I'm a Obama supporter, I found Mike Huckabee to be the least objectionable Republican being considered for President. I disagree with most of his policy positions, but he is personable and unlike all of the rest of Republican presedential wannabes and his fellow Fox News celebrities he isn't obnoxious and arrogant. He would have been a formidable candidate and I can hear the sigh of relief from the White House.

    May 14, 2011 11:10 pm at 11:10 pm |
  12. g

    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 percent said they’d back Romney if Huckabee did not run and 15 percent said they’d choose real estate mogul Donald Trump.

    May 14, 2011 11:11 pm at 11:11 pm |
  13. Mr Caribbean

    No News here, he would never have given up that job at fox

    May 14, 2011 11:11 pm at 11:11 pm |
  14. wfhutchi

    I am not surprised. Mr Huckabee could not run for president becuase of all the nasty, negative, and not corect statements he has made against President Obama (weak, not like us, not born in the USA, and etc) . I would not be surprised if Presidnt Obama ran unopposed in 2012.

    May 14, 2011 11:13 pm at 11:13 pm |
  15. mart smith

    I think it good ffor the country as a hole he is not running. ;mr H . sparks hatred in the harts of meny in the south.

    May 14, 2011 11:14 pm at 11:14 pm |
  16. opinionated

    You could trust the word of this man, Mike Huckabee. I'm sorry he's not running. Of course, it seems to be to your advantage if running for president of the USA, if you are a liar and a crook.

    May 14, 2011 11:15 pm at 11:15 pm |
  17. Kenny

    Well, without Huckaboo boo, that put Obama one step closer to re-election. Next Donald "The Chump" is going to bail out and Obama will be sailing then. Rommny will be busy trying to dodge his Health Care Plane back in Mass. and Gingrich will be trying to explaine why he uses the word "SECULAR" in every sentence and dodge his ex-wives at the same time. We don't have to worry about Palin running. She doesn't have sense enough to run unless she does it on Twitter.

    May 14, 2011 11:16 pm at 11:16 pm |
  18. Mike - Las Vegas

    Obama killed Osama and Huckabee's only claim to fame is that he wants to change the Constitution to be more in line with "biblical principles." Uh, no. Go away fat hypocrite and keep spewing your lies and filth on Faux Snooze where your ignorant supporters can nod in lockstep with all your B.S. Good riddance!

    May 14, 2011 11:16 pm at 11:16 pm |
  19. Obama 2012

    Another Palin clone. They can make millions of dollars on Faux news, writing books and going around the country bashing the President. Why settle for just $400,000 a year?

    May 14, 2011 11:21 pm at 11:21 pm |
  20. rusty155

    You had no chance any way.

    May 14, 2011 11:23 pm at 11:23 pm |
  21. S.B. Stein E.B. NJ

    Well, he seems to understand that he wouldn't win nomination. I don't think that he would be able to beat Obama even if he had won the nomination.

    May 14, 2011 11:25 pm at 11:25 pm |
  22. Charlie in Maine

    I did not like all of his answers but this guy had a knack for asking the best questions. Will miss his moral compas which the GOP sorely needs

    May 14, 2011 11:25 pm at 11:25 pm |
  23. Seattle Sue

    One less liar to worry about.

    May 14, 2011 11:28 pm at 11:28 pm |
  24. krehator

    He had the best chance, and a much stronger reputation with independents, than Newt does. The GOP has no chance of winning now. They just lost.

    May 14, 2011 11:31 pm at 11:31 pm |
  25. Josh Mendoza

    Go Romney.... I do not belive he had a chance.

    May 14, 2011 11:31 pm at 11:31 pm |
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