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. Bill from GA

    We got the teaser that huck might run, then the story that huck won't run. How did the national press miss the story about Georgia's governor, Nathan 'Shady' Deal, banning the local Fox news crew from a press conference because they did a story about the gov's campaign giving the gov's daughter in law $90,000 from campaign funds, which may have been OK, but it was totally hidden? Gov deal didn't like the story, so Fox's local crew is banned until they apologize.

    Is Freedom of The press, denied by a state governor, not an issue? Not News-Worthy??

    May 15, 2011 01:23 am at 1:23 am |
  2. Drew

    Just wish all Republicans would fall in line with President Obama knowing that he cannot loose because there's no reason for him to loose. If they have ideas bring it to the President and lets make History the year no one went against the President..

    May 15, 2011 01:23 am at 1:23 am |
  3. FM

    I knew it right from the beginning that he won't run. He hasn't been keen to show his willingness. Good for him for this decision. Why one waste time and money while the writing is already on the wall!

    May 15, 2011 01:23 am at 1:23 am |
  4. Alex

    Thank god. Am I the only one who thinks Huckabee is Gomer Pyle's long-lost brother?

    May 15, 2011 01:25 am at 1:25 am |
  5. thomas

    "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."

    Now he can keep his act at Fox channel and continue to make Ronald Reagan cartoons ! I'm just thankful not to see or hear Chuck Norris ever again as a political poster boy !

    May 15, 2011 01:30 am at 1:30 am |
  6. Kevin

    Of course Huckabee isn't going to run. He is too smart to end up like Bob Dole or John Kerry – fodder for a strong incumbent. Whomever the GOP puts up against Obama will be part long-shot and part political sacrifice. The really smart and strong candidates will wait for 2016 when they will have a significantly better chance at getting into the White House.

    May 15, 2011 01:30 am at 1:30 am |
  7. John

    Not really an exciting personality so no big loss for the GOP! All the best for a good decision....on many levels.

    May 15, 2011 01:33 am at 1:33 am |
  8. steve

    bummer imho.

    but i think he knows Obama's looking good for re-election. Huckabee in 2016!

    May 15, 2011 01:35 am at 1:35 am |
  9. ThinkAgain

    Smart decision. He's completely unelectable, what with his views on science and religion in politics.

    May 15, 2011 01:36 am at 1:36 am |
  10. Seth

    Mike is one of the good man I would have voted for in GOP Primary if he stood in the election. With him opting out , I feel discouraged to participate in GOP election and General election.

    May 15, 2011 01:41 am at 1:41 am |
  11. Robert

    I'm sad, he was my frontrunner. I hope he changes his mind in the future, he's the kind of ethic this country needs in leadership positions.

    May 15, 2011 01:41 am at 1:41 am |
  12. Enigma

    It's not his heart saying no, it's his wallet.

    May 15, 2011 01:56 am at 1:56 am |
  13. SPQR


    May 15, 2011 02:02 am at 2:02 am |
  14. AMERICA 1st

    I think Gov. Huckabee would have made a fine president, certainly better than whats in there currently. My thoughts, best wishes and prayers for you, Gov. Huckabee!

    May 15, 2011 02:10 am at 2:10 am |
  15. Billy Hicks ain't lookin' good fer us TRUE AMERICANS!!!

    But chain't gotta go n quit like this...

    Yer startin to act like a libertard these days.

    Limbaugh/Palin 2012

    May 15, 2011 02:16 am at 2:16 am |
  16. SCOTO

    More money and less responsibility being a paid mouthpiece for the Repubs at Fox

    May 15, 2011 02:20 am at 2:20 am |
  17. Marry

    Good! The first one of the pretenders with no solutions of the party of "NO" out!

    May 15, 2011 02:20 am at 2:20 am |
  18. brent

    Yeah. I couldn't bare to see that cheek dimple for 2 years

    May 15, 2011 02:29 am at 2:29 am |
  19. DifiantReliant

    Well, there goes my GOP vote... Democrats it is, I guess.

    May 15, 2011 02:34 am at 2:34 am |
  20. Steve

    Least he is being real. I give him that. Besides the GOP will lose to Obama.

    May 15, 2011 02:35 am at 2:35 am |
  21. Rachel

    Hey Mr. Huckabee – I hope you won't rule out opportunity for Vice Presidency..........
    Romney / Huckabee 2012!

    May 15, 2011 02:40 am at 2:40 am |
  22. Bradley

    Well, well, well...He sure took his sweet time making that decision. I think he'll find that decision to be a wise one. If only the rest of the right wingers could come to that same conclusion...

    May 15, 2011 02:43 am at 2:43 am |
  23. Bill

    That's too bad. The GOP field seems to be filled with candidates who have more credentials as TV hosts than they do as real politicians. Huckabee would have fit right in!

    May 15, 2011 02:45 am at 2:45 am |
  24. jayzen

    This guy is a friggen paradox to me. He has a certain charisma, integrity, insight and courage that is lost on most politicians. He could be great, except for the fact that he seems to be a crazy religious fanatic and weighs in on too many social issues that i think should be left for the individuals to decide for themselves. Can't have our collective cake and eat it too it seems. Pity.

    May 15, 2011 02:51 am at 2:51 am |
  25. NadePaulKuciGravMcKi

    Catch the mist catch the myth catch the mystery catch the drift.

    ... the two parties should be almost identical, so that the American people can "throw the rascals out" at any election without leading to any profound or extreme shifts in policy ...

    Ralph Nader Ron Paul Dennis Kucinich Mike Gravel Cynthia McKinney
    Chuck Baldwin Jesse Ventura Cindy Sheehan
    Ross Perot President Carter

    May 15, 2011 03:00 am at 3:00 am |
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