[cnn-photo-caption image= http://i2.cdn.turner.com/cnn/2009/images/07/15/art.huckpalin.gi.jpg caption="Huckabee wants Palin to stay in the GOP."](CNN) - Former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee has a warning for Sarah Palin: Don't abandon the Republican Party.
The former presidential candidate and potential future White House rival of Palin's said Tuesday he's concerned about speculation the Alaska governor may leave the GOP to become an independent.
"I hope she remains - let me be real clear - a part of the Republican Party," Huckabee told FOX News. "I'm a little concerned when I hear her say that she may sort of branch out and go third party or go independent. That would be a big mistake because we need to rebuild the Republican Party, not abandon it."
The comments come days after Palin told the Washington Times she intends to spend her days out of the Alaska governor's mansion campaigning for both Republican and Democratic candidates whose ideas she supports. That prompted speculation the onetime GOP vice presidential candidate could consider running for office in the future as a third party candidate.
But Huckabee - who, like Palin, is thought to be considering a White House bid in 2012 - said Palin has an important role to play in the Republican Party.
"I want her to succeed, and I'm delighted to see her continuing to use her voice because I do think that she rallies people," he said. "She brought electricity to the Republican ticket last year, when, frankly, there was about as much excitement as you would see, you know, at a - at a Baptist dance, which means there wasn't any, until she showed up for the ticket. And then there was fire going forth."
Huckabee - now a commentator for FOX News - also praised Palin's recent Washington Post op-ed attacking President Obama's support of a "cap and trade" program, saying it shows her "serious side."