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

    he didn't stand a chance in hell of being nominated

    May 14, 2011 08:56 pm at 8:56 pm |
  2. Eric

    Huckabee will wait until 2016. Once the Obamacare rebates hit early next year President Obama will be unbeatable, if he isn't already.

    May 14, 2011 09:07 pm at 9:07 pm |
  3. A disgusted former Republican

    I guess he didn't want to be associated with the losers that are running.

    May 14, 2011 09:10 pm at 9:10 pm |
  4. Michael J.

    More craziness from the DESPERATE and WEAK party.

    May 14, 2011 09:13 pm at 9:13 pm |
  5. Jeepers

    This is my official announcement that I'm not running for President either.

    May 14, 2011 09:14 pm at 9:14 pm |
  6. KChiefs101

    great. now that only leaves the Tea Party crazies. and i'm not about to let them have the White House, so sorry Republicans, for the safety of America, i'm voting for Obama.

    May 14, 2011 09:14 pm at 9:14 pm |
  7. midwestmatt

    Smart move. He wasn't going to win and the race promises to get very nasty.

    Although I disagree with Huckabee on almost everything, he seems to be a very decent man in a field of potential candidates that range from an unrepentant adulterer to a man running from his own record on healthcare fix.

    May 14, 2011 09:17 pm at 9:17 pm |
  8. vikingslost

    I heard where Huckabee is going to work for another well known presidential candidate.

    That would definitely be an asset for any potential presidential candidate.

    May 14, 2011 09:19 pm at 9:19 pm |
  9. Tom Bruce

    I am deeply disappointed, but on reflection, not so much. After an hour's show highlighting the very serious problems America faces –natural disasters, terrorism, Swiss cheese borders, and more - he states he doesn't care enough to run. And I guess if that's the case, America shouldn't want him. But, what was the Trump announcement that tagged Mike's? It almost appeared like a cross endorsement because of its placement: The Donald for Mike; Mike for The Donald. I will be ineterested in the pundits analysis of that one.

    May 14, 2011 09:19 pm at 9:19 pm |
  10. Michael

    he needs the money from fox to pay for his new expensive lifestyle. Didn't know that Jesus needed a $2.2 million mansion in Fl. What a hypocrite

    May 14, 2011 09:20 pm at 9:20 pm |
  11. T'sah from Virginia

    The ONLY smart one from the RIGHT – Huck-A-BYE!!!!!!
    He would have LOST against Obama and I'll tell you WHY!!
    President Obama's presidency is now in its PRIME!
    To run AGAINST him would be FOOLISH @ this time!!!

    OBAMA/BIDEN 2012!!!!

    May 14, 2011 09:20 pm at 9:20 pm |
  12. DoodleWacker

    Why did he need to make such a big performance over the announcement? Man up and say no, versus leaking an email about a "big decision". Nobody watches your show anyway, this wasn't going to make a difference.

    May 14, 2011 09:20 pm at 9:20 pm |
  13. PK California

    I think the turning point for Huckabee was when bin Laden was killed. A man with his faith could not order the operation and he realized there would be many decisions ahead that would go against his convictions. Few could do what he has done, but he knows his heart.

    May 14, 2011 09:21 pm at 9:21 pm |
  14. pritiblond

    Huckabee's only accomplishments of the past three years is to release a murder who later killed some cops in Washington state, and a red herring primary campaign in '08 to derail Romney and assure an Obama victory. I really do not like this guy.

    May 14, 2011 09:22 pm at 9:22 pm |
  15. Lisa Mitchell

    He took a beating from Obama last time, he must have had a flash back~

    May 14, 2011 09:23 pm at 9:23 pm |
  16. pritiblond

    More room for Palin and Romney.

    May 14, 2011 09:23 pm at 9:23 pm |
  17. Mother Land

    It looks President Obama is going for re-election. GOPs are just running away. DT might be next.

    May 14, 2011 09:24 pm at 9:24 pm |
  18. Anthony

    Look like Gingrich or Pawlenty will win the Republican nomination. Trump will probably run as an independent. Romney would never be able to explain to Republican voters why his health care plan is fine at the state level but unconstitutional at the national level. Republicans voters are so convinced that Obama's plan is socialism that it is unacceptable at any level. You got to feel bad for Romney. Because Obama copied Romney's plan, what used to be a Republican idea- individual mandate- is now socialism.

    May 14, 2011 09:24 pm at 9:24 pm |
  19. Mohamad

    Money is Jolly gooood at Fox and it gets even better with every kiss behind visit made to Israel.

    May 14, 2011 09:24 pm at 9:24 pm |
  20. NW1000

    Well; my union endorsed him last time, on the Republican side...oh well, he will forever be fondly remembered for that zinger about our pretty boy from NC, John Edwards, and the beauty parlor.

    May 14, 2011 09:25 pm at 9:25 pm |
  21. paa

    He sound very very fynny. Everything God says. Sara Palin believed God led her join Mccain Ticket but then she shameful lost. Mr Hackabee 2008 i bet you did not get the spiritual direction or may be God did not lead you and you lost. Why not say the truth. You will loss when you run, If you should run you will loss you will loss money and may not finish building your mansion- Mr preacher. Stop using the name of God or nay spriitual direction for excuse

    May 14, 2011 09:27 pm at 9:27 pm |
  22. paa

    The spiritual voice said to the preacher man he will loss shameful and will loss big fox earnings and will not finish building his mansion

    May 14, 2011 09:29 pm at 9:29 pm |
  23. dude

    Well, now it's left to the loons on the right.

    May 14, 2011 09:31 pm at 9:31 pm |
  24. LogicDictates

    There goes one of the 3 or 4 viable candidates the GOP had.... oh well

    May 14, 2011 09:32 pm at 9:32 pm |
  25. keylargo

    Ok so God told him not to run, thank the lord, another unqualified "huckster" can be discounted!

    May 14, 2011 09:33 pm at 9:33 pm |
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