Likely 2012 presidential candidate Mike Huckabee and his wife, Janet, have decided to pull up stakes and make Florida their home after being lifelong Arkansas residents.
The former Arkansas governor and his wife have already obtained Florida driver licenses and signed a declaration of domicile. Huckabee deflected speculation the move has political implications, saying his reasons were personal rather than political.
At the present moment, he says, his sights are firmly set on the 2010 midterm elections.
“That should be obvious to any political reporter ̶ considering HuckPAC’s strong involvement with candidates around the country and our nationwide volunteer network,” Huckabee told CNN. “It is ridiculous for someone to try and read something into this decision.”
Huckabee, who hosts a show on the Fox News Channel, also called the speculation about his move “foolish” and says he has not made any immediate decisions about his political future.
“As I have repeatedly said, no decision has been made about my political future ̶ and none will be made until after the midterm elections,” he said.
He and his wife also plan to keep their home in Arkansas, but according to Politics Daily, Huckabee sees Florida residency as more convenient for his business ventures.
Even if Huckabee is deflecting questions about his decision to move to the Sunshine State, a CNN/Opinion Research Poll shows him leading Mitt Romney in a possible presidential primary in the state.
Politics Daily reports that some Huckabee associates speculate the former governor has decided to leave Arkansas because he has grown tired of being attacked by the press in his home state even though he no longer holds elective office.
Huckabee will not be the first famous politician to leave Arkansas for greener pastures. Former President Bill Clinton and Hillary Clinton left the state after leaving the White House and relocated to New York, so she could further her own political career and he could concentrate on international work with his Clinton Foundation.
But the former governor’s decision to leave his home state could erode his Arkansas constituency, says Hal Bass, a political science professor at Huckabee’s alma mater, Ouachita Baptist University in Arkadelphia, Ark.
“If may be that a candidate can build and maintain an electoral constituency apart from holding public office and through media exposure,” Bass said. “If he runs, his current identity and reputation as a media celebrity, along with his previous status as a Baptist preacher will likely overshadow memories of him as the former governor of Arkansas.”
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