2016 watch: Huckabee back in Iowa
April 8th, 2014
09:28 AM ET
7 months ago

2016 watch: Huckabee back in Iowa

(CNN) - As he considers another bid for the White House, Mike Huckabee heads to Iowa Tuesday, the state that put the former Arkansas governor on the national political map during the 2008 presidential campaign.

Huckabee will keynote the Iowa Faith and Freedom Coalition's spring kickoff. The event is the largest annual fundraiser for the group, which is very influential with social conservative voters in the Hawkeye State.

CNN has also learned that Huckbaee has several private meetings scheduled while he's in Iowa on Tuesday.

"The Governor has a lot of friends in Iowa and a lot of supporters in Iowa. They are all interested in his future and the visit to the state for this event is a good opportunity for him to discuss state and national politics with these supporters as he considers his own future," Chad Gallagher, executive director of HUCKPAC, Huckabee's political action committee, told CNN.

Huckabee, who's also a pastor, won the January 2008 Iowa Republican caucuses, which kick off the presidential caucus and primary calendar, propelling his once long-shot campaign. He ran a strong second in many of the following primaries and caucuses to eventual GOP nominee Sen. John McCain, thanks in part to his strong support among social conservatives, who are an important part of the Republican Party's base.

Late last year Huckabee started talking like someone who was interested in running for president again. It was a very different language than what was heard from Huckabee prior to the 2012 election cycle, which the Fox News Channel weekend host sat out.

This is Huckabee's first trip to Iowa since late last year, when he met not only with social conservatives but also to business leaders, many of whom were suspicious of his economic populism during his 2008 run.

A few days after his Iowa trip, Huckabee heads to New Hampshire, the state that holds the first in the nation primary. Huckabee on Saturday will speak a "Freedom Summit" organized by Citizens United and Americans for Prosperity Foundation, two conservative groups. Two other possible 2016 GOP presidential contenders, Sens. Rand Paul of Kentucky and Ted Cruz of Texas, will also address the crowd.

Last month, as first reported by CNN, Huckabee quietly met in the nation's capital with dozens of House Republicans to discuss the possibility of another White House run. Sources in the room told CNN that the former governor received a "warm welcome" from "an enthusiastic crowd," which consisted of 73 GOP House members. Huckabee also held meetings at the Republican National Committee.

At the end of last year, Huckabee told Fox News that there was about a 50-50 chance he'd run for president again in 2016, and said he'd make a final decision after November's midterm elections.

CNN's most recent national polling in the race for the 2016 GOP nomination, conducted last month, placed Huckabee in fourth place among potential GOP White House hopefuls, at 10%.

And 65% of Iowa Republicans questioned recently in a Des Moines Register poll said they thought it would be a good idea if the former Arkansas governor ran for president again. And a pro-GOP survey of Iowa Republicans conducted less than two weeks ago had Huckabee on top of the list of potential contenders for the party's presidential nomination.


Filed under: 2016 • Iowa • Mike Huckabee
soundoff (28 Responses)
  1. Rudy NYC

    Look, boys and girls. It's Uncle Sugar himself.

    April 8, 2014 11:30 am at 11:30 am |
  2. Denise

    The Dems even received more votes for House/Senate in general election, but due to gerry mandering, cons still get in...

    April 8, 2014 11:36 am at 11:36 am |
  3. Silence DoGood

    “We should begin by setting conscience free. When all men of all religions shall enjoy equal liberty, property, and an equal chance for honors and power we may expect that improvements will be made in the human character and the state of society.”
    ~Founding FatherJohn Adams, letter to Dr. Price, April 8, 1785

    ALL.....Not just Christians of a particular conservative sub-sect.

    April 8, 2014 11:37 am at 11:37 am |
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