Huckabee announces he will not seek presidency
May 14th, 2011
08:54 PM ET
12 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. acura2010

    Nobody surprise! He and Palin are two ex-politicians milking the media for attention and making money off the stupids that listens to them.

    May 15, 2011 07:43 am at 7:43 am |
  2. Bill

    Well said, as always, Governor. And you are right, most political junkies, both Republican and Democratics, wont understand it ... why on earth would someone not seek power. But a few will understands that true power doesnt come from political position ... it comes from inner peace and joy and that only comes from a personal relationship with Jesus Christ.
    As a personal request ... don't endorse anyone ... rather, hold ALL candidates in both parties accountable when they spin and dont speak the truth ... thats where you can help the process the most.

    May 15, 2011 07:50 am at 7:50 am |
  3. Toad

    Donald Trump should make the Mac Miller- Donald Trump song his campaign song. He would pick up a lot of the younger voters

    May 15, 2011 07:51 am at 7:51 am |
  4. Dboy66

    So basically he's saying that running would be a waste of time and money because Republicans have no (good) ideas and Obama is going to win...which has been painfully obvious for quite awhile now.

    May 15, 2011 07:52 am at 7:52 am |
  5. JT

    I guess Pastor Huckabee is not running since one Christian Taliban member is already in the race. I'm sure he'll be backing Gingrich and they will work together continuing to demonize all who do not think as they do and turn the US into their dream theocracy.

    May 15, 2011 07:59 am at 7:59 am |
  6. Republicans - "The not Intened to be factually accurate Party"

    Huckabee is LIAR. He has shown himself not worthy of this office by his deliberate and calculated attempt to portray President Obama as having a "Kenyan" upbringing. His comments were not mistake – he didnt "MIS-SPEAK". He thought by embelishing a little historical detail, he could fool more citizens. In this regard, he and Newt Gingrich are cut from the same cloth. Trump is a LIAR, too. So is Bachmann.

    May 15, 2011 08:02 am at 8:02 am |
  7. bewhiskered

    "Huckabee announces he will not seek presidency."

    And, rightly so! Here is an ordained minister, who played loose and fast with President Obama's reputation, by associating him with the Mau Mau uprising in Kenya He literally 'bore false witness against his neighbor'! The first decent thing Huckabee has done since making such incendiary and false statements, is to remove himself from the Presidential race.

    May 15, 2011 08:03 am at 8:03 am |
  8. admiral 149

    It is good for the GOP that Huckabee has backed out early in the process.

    May 15, 2011 08:04 am at 8:04 am |
  9. carrie davidson

    I think his decision is a good one, and probably a very unselfish one. He will be there with support for the Republican choice. I am Democrat, but have voted Republican in the past.

    May 15, 2011 08:04 am at 8:04 am |
  10. Ruth

    Huckabee would have been divisive as a president. Comments like this would have reduced his effectiveness:

    "his perspective as growing up in Kenya with a Kenyan father and grandfather, their view of the Mau Mau Revolution in Kenya is very different than ours because he probably grew up hearing that the British are a bunch of imperialists who persecuted his grandfather."

    May 15, 2011 08:06 am at 8:06 am |
  11. AnnonUSA

    Good Decision.

    Good for America, Good for the Republicans, Good for the People.
    This guy should be nowhere near the White House.

    May 15, 2011 08:13 am at 8:13 am |
  12. Peter

    Smart man – he knows full well that Obama would have kicked his ass. Trump will be next to announce that he's not running. More will follow these two. Obama is unbeatable.

    May 15, 2011 08:15 am at 8:15 am |
  13. Larry L

    He's just mean or crazy enough to be a modern Republican. He might actually care about somebody other than the wealthy and may not be a bigot – a terrible choice for today's conservative voters.

    May 15, 2011 08:19 am at 8:19 am |
  14. gravis

    Awwwww. I'm so sad. The 2012 GOP/teabag circus has lost yet another clown.

    May 15, 2011 08:22 am at 8:22 am |

    With all of the outright lies he has said and even stated some as truth about President Oboma there's no way he could run. Most of his so called truths he has said would become so obvious when confronted that even his most loyal fans would see that they are lies. All of his crap about Kenya, etc would be exposed. By not running he can continue to tell lies on his show, unchallenged. Certainly Fox News doesn't care if he lies about the President, in fact they love his lies...

    May 15, 2011 08:25 am at 8:25 am |
  16. Joan

    Too bad. He is the nicest, most capable possible Republican candidate and carries less baggage than all of the others. Maybe he has caught the "Palin bug" and realizes that he can make tons of money writing books, giving lectures and with his job on Fox. Maybe though he thinks the others can duke it out during the primaries and then the winner might ask him to run as VP. Whatever his reasons he will still be a vocal force during the upcoming election cycle.

    May 15, 2011 08:28 am at 8:28 am |
  17. The_Mick

    He's a good man. But one wonders when he can't see that modern science has shown without doubt that the Biblical narrative is, at best, figurative and certainly doesn't represent correct times, or that he can't see that evolution is the most likely way modern life evolved (many organized churches say God used evolution to intention get where we are), one wonders how he would process critical information that doesn't fit what he "expected" to find out as president.

    May 15, 2011 08:30 am at 8:30 am |
  18. nick1

    And now you will see the compliments flying, a mixture of relief, and no doubt a campaign to woo his supporters: how different it would have been if he had announced his candidacy..

    May 15, 2011 08:40 am at 8:40 am |
  19. david arkman

    Thank you ! One less idiot on the right!

    May 15, 2011 08:41 am at 8:41 am |
  20. jules

    Good riddance but several other fanatics remain in the GOP race!

    May 15, 2011 08:43 am at 8:43 am |
  21. Big Al

    Smart man. He knows full well that no one is beating Obama in '12. Whacking bin Laden is going to trump every issue on the table and he knows that, too. Sure, there are plenty of haters who switched from being birthers to deathers. But the rest of civilised America knows that these people have nothing but sour grapes for the president. It drives conservatives nuts that a liberal can be as tough, pragmatic and patriotic as anyone else. Besides, why would Huckabee want to spend a year making a fool of himself when he can just have fun and get richer?

    May 15, 2011 08:46 am at 8:46 am |
  22. Darryl Schmitz

    Governor Huckabee realizes, one, that the lucrative gig he has now is better than the pursuit of a presidency that possibly could be the historic scapegoat for the national bankruptcy that is all but inevitable and, two, that the bankrupting expense of fake Consitutionalist right-wing politics is beginning to be exposed as the charade it is and real Consitutionalists like Representative Ron Paul, former Governor Gary Johnson and former judge and current libertarian television host Andrew Napolitano are gaining in popularity.

    May 15, 2011 08:46 am at 8:46 am |
  23. toadstool

    Now he'll have plenty of time to teach history. Like all about how dinosaurs were wandering around the Garden of Eden conversing with the talking snake.

    May 15, 2011 08:47 am at 8:47 am |
  24. Akasha

    Wouldn't vote for him b/c of philisophical differences, but he is the only pro-lifer I actually RESPECT... So far, he is the only one who acknowledges that "pro-life" shouldn't just end when birth occurs-it's a whole-lifetime thing. All the other major pro-lifers just want to see indiscriminate breeding, but then disappear when the kid (who will probably be a fiscal drain on society) is born. Still wouldn't vote for him, but @ least he is able to be somewhat respected (unlike most candidates).

    May 15, 2011 08:48 am at 8:48 am |
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