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. Flaming Liberal with an iPad

    No one should be running for the presidency. Our savior-in-chief Obama has already been voted in for and accepted his second term, thankfully.

    Post was written and and sent via an iPad 2.

    May 15, 2011 12:23 am at 12:23 am |
  2. Ric

    Everyone knows that Obama is a shoo in. Unbeatable.

    May 15, 2011 12:26 am at 12:26 am |
  3. Tom

    Where is the fight in these republicans?

    May 15, 2011 12:26 am at 12:26 am |
  4. godknowsthetruth

    Huck... coward. You could have saved us from..... fox, sarah, whatever crazy nuts are left.

    what a whimp

    May 15, 2011 12:35 am at 12:35 am |
  5. getu

    Huckabee knows that he cant beat Obama on general election. so smart the way I will be US citizen in a cuple weeks. my first vote in life for Obama

    May 15, 2011 12:35 am at 12:35 am |
  6. Bill from GA

    Yeah, but I bet he boosted his ratings for tonight's show. Learned that from the ol' donald.
    Who says you can't teach an old dog new tricks.

    The repugs are really making a joke of our country's government.

    May 15, 2011 12:36 am at 12:36 am |
  7. jeff

    Too bad man, this batch of Republican has decidedly little evangelical nutcase fox news liar. Mormon moderates are no substitute. And somebody added way too much Michele Bachmann;.

    May 15, 2011 12:39 am at 12:39 am |
  8. Glenn from Cary

    Makes you wonder what the real reason is.

    May 15, 2011 12:41 am at 12:41 am |
  9. once upon a horse

    these guys really get me. So THIS was the BIG ANNOUNCEMENT?? I knew that "Obama Kenya " story was going to do him in. But at least old Huck refuses to get into a battle he knows he can't win. Ok Sarah and Donald you're up next.

    May 15, 2011 12:41 am at 12:41 am |
  10. TimD

    Best news I've heard all day!

    May 15, 2011 12:43 am at 12:43 am |
  11. good

    We don't people in charge who make decisions based on "spiritual reasons" anyway.

    Leave that type of superstitious governance to theocracies like Pakistan, Iran, Afghanistan, and Mauritania.

    May 15, 2011 12:47 am at 12:47 am |
  12. good

    We don't *need* people in charge....

    May 15, 2011 12:47 am at 12:47 am |
  13. amber carey

    Thank the lord. That is all I have to say.

    May 15, 2011 12:49 am at 12:49 am |
  14. Bill from GA

    And Huck, you know you will have to face The Maker one day, and can you look him (her??) in the eye as you tell The Maker you supported a (GASP!) republican. You better think about the Big Picture, Huck, ol' boy, and throw your support behind the only good man (person) in the race, Barry Obama.

    May 15, 2011 12:50 am at 12:50 am |
  15. jma58

    Deep personal reflection means "how I can make the most money with the least obligations".

    May 15, 2011 12:50 am at 12:50 am |
  16. Mad in CT

    I'll agree with you on one thing Huck: God gave you the good sense to realize that there was no way in hell you could get to the WH. Now if you could only ask him to make a similar revelation to all the other dim witted GOP presidential candidates. In the case of Bachmann, Palin and Gingrich he might have to resort to something more powerful like lightning bolts or Biblical plagues with their names on them since the density of those three rocks requires more powerful means of communication.

    May 15, 2011 12:54 am at 12:54 am |
  17. Obama is Awesome !

    Another one drop's out ! They know President Obama will be nearly impossible to beat ! I guess better to bow out now than get tagged with a defeat !

    May 15, 2011 12:55 am at 12:55 am |
  18. NewRome

    He's not running? THERE IS A GOD! 🙂

    May 15, 2011 12:56 am at 12:56 am |
  19. Stinks

    Well, this stinks. I would have considered giving him my vote. Now I don't know what I'm going to do.

    May 15, 2011 12:59 am at 12:59 am |
  20. Kevin in Atlanta

    More power to him for not giving in to the hype machine. He's one of the few Republicans that I feel actually says what he means instead of what's popular at the moment. Either way, much luck to him in whatever he continues to do.

    May 15, 2011 01:02 am at 1:02 am |
  21. artboyle

    He can do as much damage as a history teacher if he s teaching creationism.

    May 15, 2011 01:03 am at 1:03 am |
  22. d

    Huckabee got pawned by Ron Paul in 08. But he's a good man- spiritual – may be not fit to run the show.

    May 15, 2011 01:03 am at 1:03 am |
  23. matt

    As if anyone needed priests to run their country. Look at the Mideast and their clergy dictators...thanks be we dodged another bullet.

    May 15, 2011 01:05 am at 1:05 am |
  24. Vence

    Your heart is right huckabee you have no chance?

    May 15, 2011 01:08 am at 1:08 am |
  25. Republican's Are Fraud's !

    The Repub's are getting down to a bunch of retread's and nobody's ! I expect a few more will drop out soon because they know it will be tough to beat President Obama !

    May 15, 2011 01:11 am at 1:11 am |
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