Former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee told an energized group of House Republicans in a Wednesday meeting on Capitol Hill that he's weighing another run for the White House in 2016.
Huckabee met with 73 House lawmakers at the Republican National Committee headquarters near the Capitol. He also engaged in fundraising efforts for his HuckPAC
political action committee and met with other Republican leaders, CNN reports
Sources close to Huckabee told CNN that he was given a "warm welcome" from "an enthusiastic crowd."
The sources said the 2016 presidential race and a possible Huckabee candidacy were discussed at the meeting, and that Huckabee was bolstered by a larger-than-expected turnout by GOP lawmakers.
The sources also told CNN that "all options are on the table" and that Huckabee's "taking the steps necessary should he decide to run" for the presidency a second time.
He ran in 2008, falling short in his bid for the Republican nomination, which was captured by Arizona Sen. John McCain.
Huckabee, who took a job with Fox News, considered a second run in 2012 before deciding against it. By all accounts, he is very earnest in his deliberations this time around.
"He’s more serious this time. He sees the environment to be better for him this time than in 2012," Sarah Huckabee Sanders, Huckabee’s daughter and a senior strategist with his 2008 campaign, told The Hill
on March 12.
"It just seems so right for a lot of different reasons. I think there is a bigger opportunity this time around, and he’s very, very seriously considering a run," she said.
A key signal of Huckabee’s intent, according to The Hill, was his decision not to renew the contract for his successful radio show.
"I was at the point where I either had to make another three-year commitment or take the fork in the road, and to do anything other than that, I had to have that freedom," he told The Hill after speaking at the Conservative Political Action Conference on March 7.
"Who knows what it leads to? There could be a lot of options out there."
Newsmax White House correspondent John Gizzi told “The Steve Malzberg Show” on March 10 that Huckabee made a major splash at CPAC
and should not be underestimated as a top candidate for the Republican nomination in 2016.
"Gov. Huckabee [is] known more today as a television host
rather than a politician," Gizzi said.
"Nonetheless, [he] had the heart of CPAC, even if he didn’t win the vote or come close. He was surrounded by an entourage of admirers, people were crowding to take their picture with him, and reporters wanted his comments.
"I talked to Mike Campbell, chairman of Gov. Huckabee's '08 campaign in South Carolina and the son of the late Gov. Carroll Campbell, [who] said Huckabee's leaning more toward running,
" Gizzi said.
In December, Huckabee, a Southern Baptist pastor who is extremely popular with evangelical Christian voters, told Fox News that the United States faces a “moral crisis,”
and put the odds of his running in 2016 at 50/50.
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