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."