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. Dave

    Looks like the GOP is throwing in the towel for 2012.

    May 15, 2011 03:06 am at 3:06 am |
  2. Monzell

    I say good if you don't run. just Remeber we are the gov its not outside its us if you choose not to run don't cry next 4 yrs you choose to sit on sidelines. we are the gov folks its us.thats usa

    May 15, 2011 03:11 am at 3:11 am |
  3. ben

    i think he is afraid of the strongman barack obama , who i also think is unbeatable in th e next election.wish u all successs the GOP ,you guys need a better idea to win electon saying no i think will not work in the next election, i hope u find one.

    May 15, 2011 03:26 am at 3:26 am |
  4. Alex

    I wish he did run, I love to see a republican squirm when he loose

    May 15, 2011 03:29 am at 3:29 am |
  5. WhoCaresAboutGOP

    Jim "Gomer Pyle" "Huckabee" Neibors is the smartest Republican in 2012, he decided NOT TO RUN!

    Cant stop a freight train. Obama 2012.

    Bye bye GOP, no cry.

    May 15, 2011 03:30 am at 3:30 am |
  6. family locator app

    Sprint family locatornapp

    May 15, 2011 03:46 am at 3:46 am |
  7. America


    May 15, 2011 03:57 am at 3:57 am |
  8. RightTurnClyde

    After the way the media attacked Trump, a highly respected and successful American, I cannot imagine any self respecting person wanting to run for office. The only ones left are the sleaze like Obama. The media can shred anyone (and have done it repeatedly). Maybe that seems good to the Democrats but it isn't. It leans toward socialist dictatorship. (like Cuba or Venezuela)

    May 15, 2011 03:58 am at 3:58 am |
  9. Mollen

    You can't win even if you did go so why bother? The Republican field is so saturated with whackos and jackos that beating Obama is nothing but a pipe dream.

    May 15, 2011 04:02 am at 4:02 am |
  10. Howard

    Yet another REALISTIC possibility for the Repub nomination has come to the conclusion that the 2012 race is looking for another sacrificial lamb, like McCain was in 2008. Obama is looking all but invincible between his successes (getting bin Laden, economy is starting the improve, etc.) and the Repub effort to shoot itself in both feet (proposed elimination of social security and medicare).

    May 15, 2011 04:20 am at 4:20 am |
  11. 2Cents

    We may need a Donald Trump in da house fo real. We need a business mind set in da White House. Our debt problem can change over night with just one idea. Rome wasn't built in a day but electricity discovered in a day.

    May 15, 2011 04:35 am at 4:35 am |
  12. BeverlyNC

    Finally – A Republican who knows no Republlican is going to come close to beating President Obama. President Obama has been an incredible leader, accomplished so much for the PEOPLE, and withstood viciious Republican hate, lies and racism with dignity.
    Huckabee can now stay with FACTLESS FOX and his revisionist history DVDs for children where Reagan saves the world.

    May 15, 2011 04:41 am at 4:41 am |
  13. Palin Power

    This is a clear sign that Sarah Palin WILL be our next and GREATEST President! Huckabee decides not to run because he does not want to get PWNED by Sarah Palin! This country and the whole world needs her to be our next President. She is the only one who can fix this whole mess created by Dubya and Obozo. She is the REAL hope and change we need.

    May 15, 2011 05:07 am at 5:07 am |
  14. Josh

    Best of luck to Huckabee in whatever he does.

    May 15, 2011 05:08 am at 5:08 am |
  15. jodee

    Maybe reconsider, Huck??

    Man, there's no one else I would give my vote to this coming season. Too bad, this was going to be my first republican vote. I don't plan on voting for Obama(again), especially if he's against Israel. Really too bad, I just hope Palin isn't running..ugh, had enough of her last term. Hope she just stays up there in Alaaskuh. Good luck Huck. It's probably better to stay away from politics anyway, as my politicians are corrupt!

    Wish I would have voted for Huck the first time around:(.
    This voter is a little bummed now! But good luck HUCK!!!

    May 15, 2011 05:09 am at 5:09 am |
  16. jules sand-perkins

    Thanks be to God!

    May 15, 2011 05:26 am at 5:26 am |
  17. Billy

    Repubicans are dead in the water

    May 15, 2011 05:30 am at 5:30 am |
  18. Joe P.

    A decent and honest person compare to all the rest of those egotisticts dems & repubs.

    May 15, 2011 05:30 am at 5:30 am |
  19. Gs018

    Great... now he can continue rewriting history via cartoons. Not sure which is worse...

    May 15, 2011 06:39 am at 6:39 am |
  20. OpinionVoiced

    Wow! only one of the many Republicans that I would actually have given some serious attention. I really thought that Mr. Huckabee would have done alot better during the last Presidential run. He has that good ol southern hospitality appeal like somemone right off the Andy Griffith show.

    May 15, 2011 06:53 am at 6:53 am |
  21. Toad

    Looks like the only man left in the GOP field is Donald Trump. The rest are losers from 2008 and girlie men! Ron Paul is a three time loser! Donald says if you can’t run with the big dogs stay off the porch! Can’t wait to see Trump go toe to toe with Obama. Be like a pitt bull up against a poodle! Enough with the career politicians they're the reason this country is falling apart now!

    May 15, 2011 07:20 am at 7:20 am |
  22. Shane Botwin

    He must have followed Sarah Palin's leadership: Go for the money instead of public service.

    May 15, 2011 07:26 am at 7:26 am |
  23. SGJ

    "but my heart says no", code for I knew my chances were low AND more importantly even of I was picked for the VP spot on the ticket I knew in "my heart" we can't win against Obama in 2012. Time for me to build my network collect IOUs for 2016

    May 15, 2011 07:28 am at 7:28 am |
  24. Marie MD

    Good foe him. It was a waste of his time and money. Too christian (wink, wink) for starters.

    May 15, 2011 07:35 am at 7:35 am |
  25. sick of republican phonies

    Why run? He's getting rich on the FOX TV "welfare for retarded right-wing republicans" plan- like money-crazy Sarah and the other jokers they employ. It's a lot easier to constantly rip down the other side- the one trying to get us OUT of the republican hole we're in- than actually have a rational plan of your own and work to implement it.

    May 15, 2011 07:40 am at 7:40 am |
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