June 23rd, 2009
11:25 AM ET
12 years ago

Huckabee officially backs Rubio over Crist

[cnn-photo-caption image= http://i2.cdn.turner.com/cnn/2009/images/06/23/art.huckrubio.cnn.jpg caption="Huckabee endorsed Rubio in a video message Tuesday."]

(CNN) - Former Republican presidential candidate Mike Huckabee officially endorsed Marco Rubio's Senate bid Tuesday, becoming the latest conservative to break with the national party over the GOP Senate primary race in Florida.

"I had a chance to get to know Marco over the years, spent a lot of time in Florida with him. And I've never seen a more energetic, articulate, principled conservative as Marco Rubio," Huckabee said in a video posted on his Web site.

"Marco loves liberty. He loves the idea that people can work hard and maybe get to keep something of what they worked hard for. That's the difference," he added.

Rubio faces Charlie Crist, the popular Florida governor, for the nomination. Crist immediately won the support of the National Republican Senatorial Campaign Committee as well as a string of GOP leaders in Congress.

Conservative activists and bloggers have expressed disappointment the party was so quick to write off Rubio, a charismatic 38-year-old of Cuban descent whose quick rise in state politics and conservative credentials have won admiration from many in the party.

Huckabee's endorsement - first leaked accidentally more than three weeks ago - comes a week after South Carolina Sen. Jim DeMint also threw his support behind Rubio, declaring he was "convinced" the former Florida House Speaker could beat Crist.

Recent polls show Crist with more than a 30-point lead in the race, though primary voters won't head to the polls for more than a year.

Filed under: Charlie Crist • Florida • Marco Rubio • Mike Huckabee
soundoff (47 Responses)
  1. markus

    Mike looks like he's packing on the pounds again...

    June 23, 2009 12:11 pm at 12:11 pm |
  2. karen

    regardless if it is Crist or Rubio it will be a republican. So stop trash talking Huckabee because he has some scruples that you dems can't even relate to. You just love to blame and name call only thing u are good at. Like the bullies in a school yard. Keep talking it up as Obama slips in the polls, unemployment rises, Korea taunts us, Iran , More troops to Afghanistan, Campaign promises broken,

    June 23, 2009 12:14 pm at 12:14 pm |
  3. Stacy from Leesburg, VA

    It will take more than the Huckster's endorsement to beat Crist. He garners support from moderates and independents. What scares the ultra conservatives is that if Crist wins, they may become marginalized in the GOP. Don't let them fool you, when Crist wins the Senate Seat, it is a shot fired across the neoconservative bow.

    June 23, 2009 12:17 pm at 12:17 pm |
  4. girlymen love the GOP

    Another airport toe wrestler and jim nabors wannabe,this guy huckbumbles doesnt have a clue.

    June 23, 2009 12:17 pm at 12:17 pm |
  5. JonDie

    Crist's a dang flaming liberal. I'm surprised that Gingrich, Limbaugh and Palin haven't kicked Crist out of the GOP yet.

    June 23, 2009 12:19 pm at 12:19 pm |
  6. Obama 2.0

    The more reason to vote for Crist! And I voted for Obama (Independent) But I will vote for a Republican that truly cares about people and is not an obstructionist like the soar loosers that keep hating on POTUS.

    June 23, 2009 12:22 pm at 12:22 pm |
  7. not a Palin fan by any stretch

    WOW ! An endorsement from the president of the " Earth is Flat Society ". It doesn't get any better than that !

    June 23, 2009 12:24 pm at 12:24 pm |
  8. Lynn

    Good all always in election mode America...no matter nothing ever gets done!!

    June 23, 2009 12:24 pm at 12:24 pm |
  9. jason, tx

    "liberty" and "Republican" no longer go together. What a joke Mr. Huckabee. What a joke.

    June 23, 2009 12:24 pm at 12:24 pm |
  10. Larry from RI

    How does this religious right wing nut square our "liberty" with his social views?

    He can't!

    June 23, 2009 12:27 pm at 12:27 pm |
  11. Donkey Party

    You mean the same Rubio that wishes all Iranians had 2nd Amendment rights in Iran? Boy those right-winger NRA lovers know how to stick together!

    June 23, 2009 12:28 pm at 12:28 pm |
  12. Dieter Zerressen, Denver, CO

    Here's another example of a Republican circular firing squad: go with the zealot instead of the reasonable and popular guy. I hope Marco wins because Crist is too much of a pragmatist and centrist and popular for any Democrat to have a chance.

    June 23, 2009 12:28 pm at 12:28 pm |
  13. Reformed Republican

    With the right reverend Huckster's endorsement of Rubio it will be a slam dunk win for Crist – Unless of course the religious right wing nuts in the swamps of Fla. come out of the primordial goo with their bibles in one hand and their check books in the other...

    June 23, 2009 12:31 pm at 12:31 pm |
  14. jake1969

    Rubio's a joke. He's single-minded. All he's done since being in the house is obsess over property taxes and helping out real estate developers. He's a hardcore conservative and we don't need more of those.

    Crist on the other hand is much more in line with centrist America and I believe will be one of the leaders to transform the Republican Party. He's a "true" conservative on social issues, generally believing individuals have a right to make their own lifestyle decisions, not the government, and he's more pro-environment than most republicans.

    This is a good test election. A clear case of a staunch conservative versus a liberal Republican.

    June 23, 2009 12:31 pm at 12:31 pm |
  15. Jack in Florida

    Who cares and who is Rubio anyway????

    June 23, 2009 12:31 pm at 12:31 pm |
  16. James M. Holmes

    The radical nutball is endorcing the other radical nutball? Is this news?

    June 23, 2009 12:33 pm at 12:33 pm |
  17. I laugh at comrade Limbaugh daily

    Rush want to toe wrestle this guy at the airport.

    June 23, 2009 12:37 pm at 12:37 pm |
  18. Republicans are the American Taliban

    Endorsing Rubio is the Republican's attempt to retrieve some of the Hispanic votes they just threw away while trashing Judge Sotomayor. Remember...Republicans don't support minorities for nothing....

    June 23, 2009 12:41 pm at 12:41 pm |
  19. Slowgun

    Wow...Crist might as well quit then...I mean the Huckster talks to god and all

    June 23, 2009 12:43 pm at 12:43 pm |
  20. Susan

    Good news for Crist.
    Hope Fox News also endorses Rubio.

    June 23, 2009 12:43 pm at 12:43 pm |
  21. Patrick - Indianapolis

    Airport Toe Wrestler just got added to the urban dictionary. Thank you for the awesome euphemism, girlymen love the GOP!

    June 23, 2009 12:43 pm at 12:43 pm |
  22. Robert

    - This is big new for Marco Rubio. Gov. Huckabee has some of the best favorables among independents and GOP so this will go along way.
    - Marco Rubio is a fantastic speaker and leader so this will help raise his profile.
    - Rubio is already beating the Democrat in the general election in polling. If Rubio gets past Crist (which things are looking good for) then he should have no problem beating the Democrat.

    By the way, the liberals who comment here seem to take facts:
    "I'm quite sure Floridians don't really care what Mike Huckabee thinks."
    "Huckabee has about as much pull as I do……..none!"
    FACT: Huckabee in recent PPP national polling was the most popular conservative in the country.

    "the republican candidate is not going to win"
    FACT: Rubio is ALREADY beating the Dem in the latest FL polling.

    "Huck thinks because he has a "show" on Fox he is relevant,"
    FACT: Huckabee has the #1 watched weekend cable news show.

    June 23, 2009 12:47 pm at 12:47 pm |
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