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Huckabee: I'll Announce White House Plans on May 5

Huckabee: I'll Announce White House Plans on May 5
(Darren McCollester/Getty Images)

By    |   Friday, 17 April 2015 08:22 PM

Former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee said Friday that he will announce whether he will seek the 2016 Republican presidential nomination on May 5 in his hometown.

"I'll tell everybody, 'Come to Hope," Huckabee told Bret Baier on Fox News, referring to his Arkansas hometown. It also is the birthplace of former Democratic President Bill Clinton. "You'll find out what is going to happen."

Huckabee, 59, who governed Arkansas from 1996 to 2007, sought the GOP presidential nomination in 2008, winning the Iowa caucuses.

He finished second in the 2008 delegate count and third in the popular vote and number of states won, besting both Arizona Sen. John McCain, the eventual nominee, and former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney.

Huckabee told Baier that he had prayed over his pending decision.

"I don't think anybody should render into a decision that is this monumental — not just for me, but for my entire family without a lot of prayer, a lot of thoughtful consideration, a lot of consultation with friends and family members.

"All of that is a very important factor in leading up to the decision that I will make."

Huckabee acknowledged that doing well in Iowa again was especially critical to any campaign.

The caucuses are set for Jan. 18, followed by the New Hampshire primaries a week later. South Carolina holds its primary in February.

"There's going to be an expectation that I will do well there," Huckabee said. "I don't know, nor would I declare I've got to win Iowa or I can't go forward.

"I think that would be absurd because I don't think it's all based on one state. But clearly coming out of Iowa with momentum is important.

Huckabee's disclosure follows Florida Sen. Marco Rubio's announcement on Monday that he would seek the Republican nomination. The day before, former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton announced her intentions for the Democratic nomination.

The other declared Republican candidates are Sens. Ted Cruz of Texas and Rand Paul of Kentucky.

Other Republicans considering a White House run include Govs. Chris Christie of New Jersey, Scott Walker of Wisconsin — as well as Sen. Lindsey Graham of South Carolina, former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush, and retired pediatric neurosurgeon Ben Carson.

Huckabee and four other hopefuls — Cruz, Graham, Paul and Walker — will speak Saturday at the Republican Leadership Summit in New Hampshire. The Granite State hosts the nation's first presidential primary in January, one week after the Iowa caucuses.

Seeking to appeal to religious conservatives by focusing on social issues, the former governor's announcement Friday capped months of speculation after he ended his Fox News program in January, saying that he was considering a White House run.

Supporters formed a political action committee in March.

Earlier Friday, Hogan Gidley, Huckabee's senior communications adviser, told Washington reporters via Twitter that an announcement was forthcoming. The former governor on Wednesday told Little Rock television station WREG that he would be ending his nationally syndicated radio talk program.

He also hedged speculation that he might seek a presidential run later Friday morning, telling The Daily Caller that if viewers watch Fox "there will be an indication of maybe when an announcement will be forthcoming."

A recent Quinnipiac University Poll has Huckabee tied with Clinton in two "critical swing states" — Colorado, at 41 percent each, and Iowa, at 42 percent each.

The Real Clear Politics average of polls show Huckabee in sixth place, with 8.9 percent. He trails Bush, Walker, Cruz, Paul and Carson — but is just ahead of Rubio and Christie.

Saying on Sunday that Clinton would be a "formidable candidate," Huckabee noted that the former New York senator was weaker now than when she first ran for the White House in 2007.

"She's tied to the Obama administration," he told George Stephanopoulos on ABC News. "I don't think that is a plus for her.

"And recent polls show that there's almost an overwhelming demand for people to undo a lot of Obama's policies domestically and in foreign policy.

"She'll have to explain how she's not going to be Obama's third term," Huckabee said.

An ordained Baptist minister, Huckabee has broadly slammed President Barack Obama on issues ranging from national security to Obamacare — and has spoken out on social concerns.

In 2012, he called for a "Chick-fil-A Appreciation Day" on Facebook after the chain's president, Dan Cathy, came under attack from liberal and gay-rights groups for promoting his Christian values.

Cathy had said in an interview that the family-owned company was "guilty as charged" for supporting the "biblical definition of a family."

Gay-rights groups had called for a boycott of the chain — and mayors of Boston, Chicago, San Francisco, and Washington, D.C. said they would block expansion of their restaurants in those cities.

More than 600,000 people registered for the Aug. 1 event on Huckabee's Facebook page — and a consulting firm projected that sales increased at the average Chick-fil-A restaurant by nearly 30 percent and by 367 customers that Wednesday.

A kiss-in organized by pro-gay marriage advocates two days later attracted far less support.

Huckabee has spent recent months traveling the country to promote his 12th book — "God, Guns, Grits, and Gravy" — while carrying the banner for social issues.

In February, he charged Obama with being "the No. 1 defender of all things Islam" after the president compared the atrocities committed by the Islamic State to those carried out by Christians during the Crusades.

"I'm not an anti-Islamist, I'm not, but I can call out something for what it is," he told J.D. Hayworth on "America's Forum on Newsmax TV. "There are many moderate Muslims across the world who are appalled by this."

Last month, he slammed protests over religious freedom laws in Arkansas and Indiana, telling Newsmax that the laws were "shields to protect individuals, not swords."

He blamed the "phony crisis" on "irrational pressure from the far left."

A native of Hope, Ark., Huckabee has been married to his high school sweetheart, Janet, since 1974, and they have four children and many grandchildren.

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Former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee said Friday that he will announce whether he will seek the 2016 Republican presidential nomination on May 5 in his Arkansas hometown.
huckabee, announcement, presidency
Friday, 17 April 2015 08:22 PM
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