Politics

‘Huckabee for 2012′ seems more and more likely

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Caroline May
Political Reporter

Rumors swirled in the blogosphere mid-week that former Arkansas Governor Mike Huckabee would not run for president in 2012. In denying the speculation, those in Huckabee’s corner revealed just how likely it is that Huckabee will run this cycle.

Alice Stewart, Huckabee’s 2008 national press secretary, told The Daily Caller that the former governor has been meeting with donors and experts to strategize a road to victory.

“He has not made a final decision yet as to what he is going to do but I do know he has been talking with people – a lot of folks who have encouraged him to run,” Stewart said. “He has met with a lot of political folks who have told him what it could take for him to win. And he talked to some major donors to make sure that he could raise the funds necessary to compete this year.”

Hogan Gidley, HuckPAC’s executive director denied that the governor had made any decision, but expressed that Huckabee is well aware that he is a popular front-runner.

“National polling consistently shows Governor Huckabee is the frontrunner – so we expect a certain amount of unfounded speculation, odd rumors, and sadly, the occasional lie lobbed our way,” Gidley wrote in a statement. “But the Governor himself has been quite clear on this matter. He has truthfully and repeatedly stated that he is seriously considering a run for President but he won’t make that decision until this summer – and that has not changed.”

Stewart emphasized that the governor is doing a lot of research and networking to ensure that his final decision is informed. One concern about announcing early is the prospect of losing his Fox News program. Declaring would result in the termination of his deal with Fox News, which has already suspended former House Speaker Newt Gingrich and former senator Rick Santorum for the same reason.

The former governor does not have any campaign staff as of yet, doing so would result in an end to his television program.

“He hasn’t formed anything official and if that does happen, understandably he would have to give up his Fox News work and ABC radio and quite a bit of other things he does,” said Stewart. “Given that, he is continuing to do his work in broadcasting and media. But on the side he is…. talking with people that will help him make the decision. But given that no official exploratory committee has been formed or PAC or there are not official people on staff simply because at the time that does happen he would understandably have to leave all his broadcast work.”

Vincent Harris Huckabee’s 2008 Iowa E-Director told TheDC that Huckabee is serious about a potential run and pointed to the former governor’s support in key states.

“Not only is he leading many of the polls, but he has a dedicated online following that is sticking with him in Iowa, South Carolina, and beyond,” Harris said. “In Iowa specifically a group of supporters called ‘Stuck on Huck’ are organizing and coordinating a real grassroots movement to draft Gov. Huckabee. These aren’t AstroTurf groups either, they’re real activists who feel Governor Huckabee is the only candidate who can defeat President Obama, and get our nation on track.”

The Huffington Post’s Jon Ward reported Thursday that one of Huckabee’s “key supporters,” former South Carolina Governor David M. Beasley, believed the Huckabee would likely get in the race, especially now that Mississippi Governor Haley Barbour is out.

“It looks like things continue to fall in place,” Beasley said. “You know, like Haley Barbour getting out — another southern governor who could take votes.”

Huckabee’s 2008 campaign manager told The Hill last week that he expects the Arkansas governor to run, but that the country probably will not know for sure until June.

“He’s receiving quite a bit of counsel and encouragement,” Rollins said. “He knows he has roughly a June 1 deadline to decide. Personally, it’s my sense that he’ll go for it this time.”

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