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. Jack

    A good idea to skip running anyway, as he'd lose. This makes him smarter than Newt Gingrinch.

    May 14, 2011 10:35 pm at 10:35 pm |
  2. donald t

    Well i for one am not disappointed i would like to say mike i have always thought of you as a very dear friend

    May 14, 2011 10:37 pm at 10:37 pm |
  3. GOP = Greed Over People

    Did anyone really think Mike (Elmer Gantry) Huckabee the "christian" would ever give up the pursuit of the dollar to return to public service?

    Please, how could he afford that shining castle by the sea, if he gave up the pursuit of Rupert (the Money Changers) Murdocks golden shekels?

    May 14, 2011 10:38 pm at 10:38 pm |
  4. MarkyGa

    Under no circumstances would I (or 99 percent of independents) vote for a Baptist minister for president. Of cousre ALL far right wing nuts would support him. Translation: Obama would win 80/20 in an election.

    May 14, 2011 10:38 pm at 10:38 pm |
  5. Jh

    Now we know he was really in it for the money. Big cut in pay from his job at GOPFox, book deals, etc.

    May 14, 2011 10:39 pm at 10:39 pm |
  6. pepperjames

    Awesome news. Now no one stands in the way of the Trump/Palin Ticket.

    Trump/Palin 2012 !!!

    May 14, 2011 10:41 pm at 10:41 pm |
  7. Big Man

    Good. One less pro-zionazi supporter of Israel we have to contend with.

    May 14, 2011 10:42 pm at 10:42 pm |
  8. Wise1Speak


    Just the other night MSNBC's Lawrence O'Donnell gave a guarantee that Huckabee's 'big announcement' would be that he is not running for the presidency in 2012.

    Part of the reason O'Donnell knew that Huckabee would not run, is because unlike other GOP 2012 presidential candidates who were recently fired from Faux News (e.g. Newt Gingrich); Huckabee still retains his plush cushy job with the Republican Tea Party Puppet Master's network. And it would be a blatant case of HYPOCRISY for Faux to pay Presidential candidates while they simultaneously campaign and work as agents of Faux.

    May 14, 2011 10:42 pm at 10:42 pm |
  9. Aaron

    If he's not running, why has been torturing America with his lame opinions for the last 2 years plus then?

    May 14, 2011 10:43 pm at 10:43 pm |
  10. sam

    somewhere, chuck norris is not happy

    May 14, 2011 10:44 pm at 10:44 pm |
  11. Kevin

    I'm stunned. I will absolutely vote democrat but I saw Huckabee as perhaps the most dangerous threat to Obama; I don't like his politics but he seems like a genuinely nice enough person and he solidifies the religious right for the GOP. So Gingrich and Trump but no Huckabee? Are the republicans giving up and waiting until 2016?

    May 14, 2011 10:44 pm at 10:44 pm |
  12. Henry

    A pretend Christian clown. Good riddance. Stay with Fixed News.

    May 14, 2011 10:45 pm at 10:45 pm |
  13. Kevin

    Best news I've heard today. One less religious idiot clogging up the political system.

    Now if only Jesus Barbie will go away...

    May 14, 2011 10:46 pm at 10:46 pm |
  14. Steve in CA

    What a shame. The prospect of a campaign between President Obama and Governor Huckabee had the potential to be one of the most civil and respectful in a long time. Each candidate would have been able to articulate their very different views and philosophies and that would have been good for all Americans. Hopefully, the GOP nominee will be able to take a lesson from Governor Huckabee and President Obama would embrace his often stated position of disagreeing without being disagreeable.

    May 14, 2011 10:47 pm at 10:47 pm |
  15. Proud member of "Global Zero"

    He cannot pay his multi million dollar mortgage on his mansion here in palm beach county. He is a lousy Christian that lives off lies and hate and ignores the poor. This man is a so called wonder I can't understand this religion.


    May 14, 2011 10:51 pm at 10:51 pm |
  16. misternomer

    Good decision. Ron Paul 2012!

    May 14, 2011 10:51 pm at 10:51 pm |
  17. lisa

    all people are not stupid but all democrats and liberals are stupid people.

    May 14, 2011 10:52 pm at 10:52 pm |
  18. Republicans - "The not Intened to be factually accurate Party"

    A page right out of the Trump playbook – hype your TV show as the place to reveal your "big decision" with the hopes of raising ratings.

    NBC is complicit with Trump. The network knows, but refuses to announce whether they signed Trump to next season. Yet, with networks selling ads for 2012, NBC knows the answer. They cheapen themselves by being part of these ruses.

    The likes of Huckabee, Palin, Trump, Gingrich, Santorium, Cain can not win and only talking about "running" as a means to earn personal income from speeches, books, tapes, and other paid apperances. This is shameful.

    May 14, 2011 10:54 pm at 10:54 pm |
  19. Shemp Howard

    He's opted to take the money, rather than take what's behind curtain number 2

    May 14, 2011 10:54 pm at 10:54 pm |
  20. justsomeguy

    I also would like to announce I will not be seeking re-election next fall

    May 14, 2011 10:55 pm at 10:55 pm |
  21. the voice of reason

    Good for you! Listen deep for the inner call...use a better tool for the job.

    May 14, 2011 10:55 pm at 10:55 pm |
  22. che-3

    Wow, Coward GOP's! Scared of The Messiah Obama? Can't match Pres. Obama's intellect and command of the the English language?

    May 14, 2011 10:57 pm at 10:57 pm |
  23. Bmanhandler

    Predicted last night on "The Last Word" that he would NOT run – needs money to pay bills!

    May 14, 2011 10:58 pm at 10:58 pm |
  24. Tim

    Kudos to him for all of his "spiritual exploration" which led him to this decision; but personally I think they're all clearing out of the way for Newt Gingrich. When it comes to the Republican nomination itself, I think maybe that's a freight train that can't be stopped....

    May 14, 2011 10:58 pm at 10:58 pm |
  25. Mike

    Boy. He sure had me waiting on the edge of my seat all month long for his announcement. LMAO @ this joke of a so called politician. Now. If he would only go away forever and never be heard from again it would be a perfect world!!!

    May 14, 2011 10:58 pm at 10:58 pm |
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