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. michaelam

    But we already knew this, didn't we?
    The Huckster is all about the $money$ and the office of the Presidency doesn't pay as much as lying on Fox Noise.

    May 14, 2011 09:33 pm at 9:33 pm |
  2. Charles W. Skinner

    Dang!! Let us hope that Huckabee can convince whomever he chooses to back to take a good, hard look at the FAIRTAX proposal. It is the most fair, REVENUE NEUTRAL method of taxing the public to support the services that are used while flattening and simplifying the tax code and protecting the poor, while taxing those who over-utilize goods and services in relation to their peers.

    May 14, 2011 09:33 pm at 9:33 pm |
  3. D

    Ron Paul 2012!!!!!!!!

    "Of those polled, 19 percent said they’d back Romney if Huckabee did not run and 15 percent said they’d choose real estate mogul Donald Trump."

    Why don't you just vote for GWB while you're at it!

    May 14, 2011 09:34 pm at 9:34 pm |
  4. Herbie Walker

    Seeing the writin' on the wall, Reverend?

    What a waste of (another) perfectly useful conservative boy.

    Time to bring back Joe the Plumber yet?

    May 14, 2011 09:34 pm at 9:34 pm |
  5. Lenny Pincus

    He didn't run because he knows he would lose badly. Also he'd have to tell Ted Nugent to take a hike, which would break Huck's heart. Let's face it: he sold out to Fox, has made a boatload of money, and said so long to Arkansas, hello Florida, Becoming president would be a letdown compared to having his own show, even if it appeals to the dumbest of the dumb.

    May 14, 2011 09:35 pm at 9:35 pm |
  6. Qev

    Again, none of them (Republicans) should run in 2012, as they have absolutely nothing to offer in opposition to Mr. a host of utterly ridiculous, crackpot conspiracy theories...oh, and of course, the race baiting...

    May 14, 2011 09:38 pm at 9:38 pm |
  7. thetruth

    He figured too many crazy conservatives (bachmann, gingrich) like him already crowded up the race. He knows has no chance of winning. Quit BSing yourself and everyone else Huckabee. Thank God one less neo-con to deal with.

    May 14, 2011 09:38 pm at 9:38 pm |
  8. sbp

    And yet...the front page story is a con man with a fake perpetual motion machine trying to sell pictures of Michael Jackson that he posted for the story – thereby obviating the need for anyone to buy them.

    May 14, 2011 09:40 pm at 9:40 pm |
  9. Dee

    Huckabee made a smart move some of the others should follow suit especially Newt he has entirely too much baggage and has begun a smear campaign. People are beginning to see some light at the tunnel and the last thing that we need is a lot of bickering and tearing each other down.

    I believe the President is accomplishing a lot to help and protect Americans and does not need to be denigrated. How soon do we forget how to change the tone in this Country to civility.

    May 14, 2011 09:41 pm at 9:41 pm |
  10. whitmanguy

    First intelligent decision from a Republican in living memory. Now, if only his Republican peers–Romney, Pawlenty, Palin, Bachmann, Gingrich, etc.–would follow suit, that party might gain some respectability.

    May 14, 2011 09:44 pm at 9:44 pm |
  11. modmike

    Some people don't realize that when you run for Prez you family runs too. They are subject to things unimaginable and unfair, but whoever runs I give them full respect and prayers for their safety even if I vote for them or not.

    May 14, 2011 09:45 pm at 9:45 pm |
  12. JJ

    Oh man, It now looks like Mitt Romney is the only decent Republican canidate, all of the rest of them look like Circus Freaks!Trump, Palin, Newt, oh no! Mitt please win the Republican nomination and if any these nut jobs become President I'm moving to Canada.

    May 14, 2011 09:46 pm at 9:46 pm |
  13. Jay

    Wonder if all the millions he's currently making had anything to do with his "decision" not to run.

    I'd never thought I'd say this but THANK YOU FOX NEWS! By employing him, and paying him so well that he could by his beautiful Florida home, he has decided not to run. Or is it better for Fixed News to have a Democrat in the WH so they have their constant garbage to spew to people? One can only speculate.

    That pretty much removes all serious contenders to President Obama. Axelrod has got to be LHAO.

    Obama Biden 2012

    May 14, 2011 09:47 pm at 9:47 pm |
  14. MS

    On behalf of the children of unwed mothers everywhere I'd like to say thank god and good riddance.

    May 14, 2011 09:50 pm at 9:50 pm |
  15. Jon

    Huh. That's a surprise. I really figured he was building up to go for it. Anyway, it's kind of a pity - I don't agree with Huckabee on a lot of things (well, most things), but he at least had a bit of class.

    May 14, 2011 09:51 pm at 9:51 pm |
  16. Isaac

    That's too bad. I was really looking forward to more stupidity and gay hating from the creationist morons.

    May 14, 2011 09:52 pm at 9:52 pm |
  17. Greekj

    ginghRICH I have one question: What if gwb (and/or cheny) would have used the Seals to go after sudat hussein like President Obama took care of Osama b l , wouldn't we have less of a deficit and MORE ALIVE SOLDIERS andf PEOPLE ALIVE IN IRAQ? Thank God for President Obama!!!!!!!

    May 14, 2011 09:54 pm at 9:54 pm |
  18. Neil Furqueron

    The one good Republican candidate will not run. Very sad indeed.

    May 14, 2011 09:55 pm at 9:55 pm |
  19. Greekj

    President Obama in 2012!!! YES WE CAN!!!

    May 14, 2011 09:56 pm at 9:56 pm |
  20. Mike

    Why are the GOP terrified off running against Obama in 2012?

    May 14, 2011 09:57 pm at 9:57 pm |
  21. naomipriester

    Awww! He rhymed! As for the decision? *shrug*

    May 14, 2011 10:00 pm at 10:00 pm |
  22. Thomas

    Too bad. He was one of the few clear thinking Republicans to consider joining the race. However, I can understand how he would want to avoid becoming associated with the confederacy of dunces that is the current field of candidates. Plus, he is saving a lot of people a lot of money by NOT running. Besides, I think he can read the Tea leaves and knows that Obama will win re-election in 2012.

    May 14, 2011 10:00 pm at 10:00 pm |
  23. ed

    Na Na Na Na, Hey Huckabee, Goodbye.

    May 14, 2011 10:02 pm at 10:02 pm |
  24. So long, Tubby

    It would have been amusing though.

    May 14, 2011 10:05 pm at 10:05 pm |
  25. TJeff1776

    Huck didn't see himself as able to win. Simply that and nothing more.

    May 14, 2011 10:07 pm at 10:07 pm |
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