Mulling 2016 bid, Huckabee meets Iowa and S.C. groups
December 13th, 2013
12:48 PM ET
8 months ago

Mulling 2016 bid, Huckabee meets Iowa and S.C. groups

(CNN) - Mike Huckabee appears to be thinking of doing in 2016 what he didn't do in 2012: Make another bid for the White House.

The pastor, former Arkansas governor, and 2008 Republican presidential candidate, who ran a strong second in the primaries and caucuses to eventual GOP nominee Sen. John McCain, is starting to talk like someone who is contemplating another national run.

It's different language than what we heard from Huckabee prior to the 2012 election cycle.

"It's a different tone and tenure this time than four years ago," said Hogan Gidley, a close adviser and friend who's worked for Huckabee in one position or another on and off for 15 years. "This is more of a 'I'm seriously taking a look at it' tone than four years ago."

Gidley told CNN several groups from the early voting states of Iowa and South Carolina have come to meet with Huckabee recently.

And not just social conservatives, with whom the former minister has always enjoyed strong support, but also business leaders, many of whom were suspicious of Huckabee during his 2008 run.

In an interview with the Washington Post Thursday, Huckabee said he's receiving encouragement to launch another campaign "from places where I never got it before," including "business, people some would maybe call the establishment."

On whether he'll run: "I'm keeping the door open," Huckabee said in a separate interview with the New York Times, adding: "I think right now, the focus needs to be on 2014. But I'm mindful of the fact that there's a real opportunity for me."

Huckabee gave his interviews on the same night he was the main attraction at an event in Little Rock by the American Renewal Project, which encourages evangelical pastors to become more involved in political action. After the event, CNN's confirmed that Huckabee met with pastors from both Iowa and South Carolina.

Earlier Thursday Huckabee signed off for the last time from his nationally syndicated radio program. Some political observers see Huckabee's dropping of his radio show as a signal that he's starting to position himself for a 2016 run.

Near the end of his radio show, Huckabee seemed to give a tease, saying of his future that "I'll continue to make speeches, traveling all over the country, campaigning for people, doing a whole lot of things. I'll continue to write, and well, there are other things on the horizon as well."

Huckabee will continue to host a weekend TV program on the Fox News Channel.

He came in a surprise second in the 2007 Iowa GOP straw poll, and then won the state's caucuses the following January, propelling his campaign.

He continued to win a number of states, mostly in the South, but short of funds and organization, he wasn't able to compete with McCain's much larger and well-financed campaign.

Huckabee passed on 2012, believing President Barack Obama could not be defeated. But he has also admitted that the financial comfort he had earned though his media appearances and speeches was a contributing factor in not running.

If he launches another campaign, Huckabee says his populist approach would be among his best assets.

"If Republicans want to win, they've got to go get a portion of the population they've missed the last two election cycles, particularly working-class people and minorities who have not thought there was a message for them," Huckabee told the New York Times.


Filed under: 2008 Election • 2012 • 2016 • Arkansas • Mike Huckabee
soundoff (25 Responses)
  1. Jeff Brown in Jersey

    Here comes the Krazy Klown Kar right on schedule... BEEP BEEP!!!!!

    December 13, 2013 12:53 pm at 12:53 pm |
  2. just saying

    he's too nice a guy. the leftist democrat smear machine will eat him alive.

    December 13, 2013 12:55 pm at 12:55 pm |
  3. Steve, New York City

    Really? Wasn't Huckabee the one who made that stupid animated video depicting the 9/11 terrorist attacks? Huckabee, Sarah Palin and other "air heads" who weren't even in lower Manhattan on that day (yes – I was here) should simply shut their traps, rather than offering obtuse commentary on the topic.

    December 13, 2013 01:03 pm at 1:03 pm |
  4. Gurgyl

    --let me make this testament, in plain Christian language, "as long as these GOP guys focus on Wars, Foreign contracts, Halliburton, leeeeeaaaaaving USA poor, needy, middle-class, women etc, these GOP idiots have NO chance of coming close to WH, other than cook jobs in WH". Very true.

    December 13, 2013 01:06 pm at 1:06 pm |
  5. Woman In California

    Nothing surprises me anymore coming from the T-Publican party. Huckabee doesn't stand a chance and he knows it but neither do Cruz, Paul or Rubio. Reality and republicans have never met and Huckabee will be no different. Let him run, pick up the south, bail out and get the ! ell out of our lives forever.

    December 13, 2013 01:11 pm at 1:11 pm |
  6. Rudy NYC

    Earlier Thursday Huckabee signed off for the last time from his nationally syndicated radio program. Some political observers see Huckabee's dropping of his radio show as a signal that he's starting to position himself for a 2016 run.

    Huckabee will continue to host a weekend TV program on the Fox News Channel.
    -------------–
    This scenario will have to be most carefully watched. We still have some campaign laws left on the books.

    December 13, 2013 01:13 pm at 1:13 pm |
  7. Lynda/Minnesota

    "This is more of a 'I'm seriously taking a look at it' tone than four years ago."

    No comment. Oh, alright, alright ... I confess: I'm laughing out loud.

    December 13, 2013 01:17 pm at 1:17 pm |
  8. Anonymous

    Well.......I just don't know what to say.........I'm laughing too hard.

    December 13, 2013 01:17 pm at 1:17 pm |
  9. Silence DoGood

    "If Republicans want to win, they've got to go get a portion of the population they've missed the last two election cycles, particularly working-class people and minorities who have not thought there was a message for them," Huckabee told the New York Times.
    ----------
    I have to disagree with Mr. Huckabee here. There has been a very clear message from the Republicans to the working-class people and minorities: "We got ours – Forget you."

    December 13, 2013 01:18 pm at 1:18 pm |
  10. Larry Liberal

    Greed,Fear and Hate just what we need in President. Please run Mr. Huckabee we need a good laugh.

    December 13, 2013 01:23 pm at 1:23 pm |
  11. king

    another right winged nut, who want to suck money from our economy, and give to the rich, so they can build china's war machine. i see gloom in america's future if any repubs win, because they will full the courts of corporation hungry judges, and the American workers will be lower than chinese workers.

    December 13, 2013 01:34 pm at 1:34 pm |
  12. The Real Tom Paine

    Well, I guess that explains why he folded his radio show.

    December 13, 2013 01:44 pm at 1:44 pm |
  13. Larry in Houston

    hucklebee isn't going to make it – his time was over – long time ago – like pat Buchanan – those guys are only good for talk / news TV hosts. faux for instance . . .

    December 13, 2013 01:48 pm at 1:48 pm |
  14. pkMyt1

    The right wing of the GOP is going to eat him alive.

    December 13, 2013 01:51 pm at 1:51 pm |
  15. NATHAN WIMBERLY

    Huck was right. President Obama couldn't be defeated by the Guns Over People tea potty wingnuts. Huck doesn't have the "fire in his belly".

    December 13, 2013 01:57 pm at 1:57 pm |
  16. smith

    Sorry Huckabee, but Christie is going to cruise all the way to the White House. The dems sealed their fate with the ACA.

    December 13, 2013 02:12 pm at 2:12 pm |
  17. Lolo

    The GOP is really out there. This is the best they can do. The true Americans have spoken, we do not want a clown or a nut for president. The fun has begun. They are going to be lying through their teeth to keep the house full of the tea potty fringes. They are gromming them now not to talk about women and all the other crazy things they mentioned last time. People do not fall for it. Fool me once shame on you, fool me twice shame on me, but I am not going to let it happen. They want to stop poeple from exercising their right to vote, but it is backfiring on them. People are more than ever determined to vote. Such imbeciles. The olg GOP use d theTP Klan get elected now they are balking back at them for their craziness and now they have turned on each other. What a weave they have woven. They crated these nuts now they are trying to get away from them as fast as they can. LOL!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    December 13, 2013 02:12 pm at 2:12 pm |
  18. timverba

    If Huckabee gets the nomination it will be the second time in a row that the Republicans nominated a clergyman to be President. Most successful parties have a little more practical program than relying on just hope and faith. But given the current back-biting in the Republican party, they may need prayer.

    December 13, 2013 02:17 pm at 2:17 pm |
  19. CryBabies

    Sorry Huck....you rate the same chance as Howard Dean did.

    December 13, 2013 02:23 pm at 2:23 pm |
  20. Silence DoGood

    @timvera "second time in a row that the Republicans nominated a clergyman to be President"
    The "War on Christianity" myth is a cover for drive to convert this country into a Christian Theocracy. There will be no tolerance if this happens. I heard Palin on the radio one day being upset by a certain city with lots of Christian churches having to tolerate ONE mosque.

    December 13, 2013 02:35 pm at 2:35 pm |
  21. Ol' Yeller

    Okay, we got cruz, huckabee, paul, christie (who smith appears to have a real man crush on- down boy, there's enough there to go around)...
    slow down fellers', line forms over here... teab agg er nut jobs to the right (no pun intended) and the rest of you... oh, that's all, just teab agg er nut jobs and the fat guy?
    Okay, I'm sure there will be more later. They haven't trotted out their black guy yet, and yes, there will be no need for a Women's port a potty this year either.
    Little difficult when you can't even get one to vote for you, much less run for you...

    December 13, 2013 02:38 pm at 2:38 pm |
  22. ThinkAgain

    We are not a theocracy, Mike – give it up already (unless, of course, you are just another publicity-addicted repub who enjoys fleecing supporters of their hard-earned money).

    December 13, 2013 02:42 pm at 2:42 pm |
  23. Denise

    Bad enough the State of Alaska has to tolerate one village idiot too....

    December 13, 2013 02:55 pm at 2:55 pm |
  24. Denise

    Christie might win in the WWF, not the WH.....

    December 13, 2013 02:56 pm at 2:56 pm |
  25. just saying

    Anyone who has a show on fox should be disqualified, as they obviously have difficulty distinguishing the truth from fodder, definitely not presidential material .

    December 13, 2013 03:02 pm at 3:02 pm |