After months of speculation, former Arkansas Governor Mike Huckabee, who ran for president in 2008, announced Saturday night on his Fox News program that he would not mount a second run for the White House.
Huckabee explained that while on paper he appears to have overcome many of the obstacles candidates face, in his times of personal reflection and prayer he came to realize a second campaign was not God’s will.
“I am a believer and follower of Jesus Christ and that relationship is far more important to me than any political office,” Huckabee said. “For me the discussion and decision is ultimately not a political one, not a financial one, not even a practical one — it’s a spiritual one.”
His consultations with Christ brought Huckabee to his final decision: he will not run.
“The past few weeks, the external signs and signals and answers to many of the obstacles point strongly toward running,” he explained. “And when I have people encouraging me to run, it’s easy to feel the strength of their partnership and commitment to help me to the finish line. But only when I was alone in quiet and reflective moments did I have not only clarity, but an inexplicable inner peace — a peace that exceeds human understanding.”
“All the factors say go, but my heart says no,” he concluded.
Huckabee was considered to be one of the frontrunners for the 2012 Republican presidential nomination — frequently leading other possible Republican presidential candidates in national and regional polls.
In his announcement, Huckabee noted the speculation that surrounded his possible candidacy. With his explanation, it is now understandable why even Huckabee’s inner circle did not know which way he would go since Huckabee said he did not come to a decision until just recently.
Even with the announcement that he had made a decision, his inner circle was only left to guess the outcome of it.
“Not even my executive producer knows,” Huckabee said on the “O’Reilly Factor” Friday evening.
He kept the suspense alive with an email sent to advisers Friday, which was obtained by Time magazine, alerting them of his announcement.
“Many friends have said, ‘how can we help you in the decision?’ My answer has consistently been, ‘Pray that I have clarity,’” he wrote. “I have it and will share it Saturday night during the show. Please be patient if I don’t respond immediately to an email because I expect that once I pull the trigger Saturday night, things will get even crazier, as if that’s possible.”
Now the debate will shift to just who will get the coveted Huckabee endorsement.
Here is Huckabee’s full statement:
The pundits and members of the political class who have spoken with certainty about my decision to run or not for President in 2012 are amusing if not amazing to think that they knew what even I didn’t know until late this week. The past few months have been times of deep personal reflection. Even though I wasn’t actively establishing a campaign organization or seeking financial support to run again, polls have consistently put me at or near the top to be the Republican nominee. When possible candidates were discussed in the media and despite polls that showed me in the lead, my name would often go unmentioned while a candidate barely registering single digits was touted as a “front-runner.” I found comfort that the nomination would not be made by commentators, columnists, or consultants, but by the rank and file voters in the Republican primary, and their support is strong and has been growing.
Concerns that I had about raising the necessary funds to be competitive or being able to win in states outside the South were answered when signs of strong financial support materialized and when polls showed me winning in states like Pennsylvania, Maine, and even New Jersey. That kind of shattered the notion that I was only a regional candidate or only supported by social conservatives.
I had not done much toward a race because my life was filled with work that I truly love here at Fox News, doing radio commentaries on my daily Huckabee Report on 600 radio stations, traveling the country for speaking engagements, and helping good conservative, pro-life candidates who were running for office. Other people probably thought about it more than I did.
I don’t have an issue with my family being supportive. My wife actually encouraged me to do it, despite knowing full well it would subject her and the rest of the family to brutal and savage personal attacks. My adult children have also made it clear they would be with me no matter what.
When people asked me what it would take for me to run, I would tell them the same thing—pray for me to have clarity in the decision. I don’t expect everyone to understand this, but I’m a believer and follower of Jesus Christ. That relationship is far more important to me than any political office. For me, the decision is ultimately not a political one, a financial one, or even a practical one —it’s a spiritual one.
The past few weeks, the external signs and signals and answers to many of the obstacles point strongly toward running. When I am with people encouraging me to run, it’s easy to feel the strength of their partnership and commitment to help me to the finish line. Only when I was alone, in quiet and reflective moments did I have not only clarity, but an inexplicable inner peace—a peace that exceeds human understanding. All the factors say GO, but my heart says NO. And that is the decision I have made and in it have finally found resolution. I don’t fully understand it myself—but I’m sure the pundits will. But I know that under the best of circumstances, being President is a job that takes one to the limit of his or her human capacity. For me, to do it apart from an inner confidence that I was undertaking it with God’s full blessing is unthinkable. I can’t know or predict the future, but I know for now my answer is clear and firm. I will not seek the Republican nomination for President this year. I will gladly continue doing what I do and helping others in their campaigns for Congress, governorships, and other positions. I’ll certainly give more detail about this decision in due time and especially to those who have faithfully and so sacrificially been part of the process.
I know I will deeply disappoint many people I love. So many good and dear people have put forth extraordinary effort without any assurance I would mount a campaign. It pains me to let them down. I also know my decision will delight just as many who aren’t that fond of me. I am eternally grateful for the faithful support of my wife, children and real friends who promised to stand with me no matter what. I had come to believe I would be in the race for President. I won’t be. But I will for sure be re-dedicating myself to standing for and communicating the principles of common sense, Constitutional government, and civil discourse that I believe are critical to the survival of our great Republic.
From New York, this is MH, goodnight, God bless, and I’ll be back next week.