Former presidential candidate and Arkansas governor Mike Huckabee says any speculation that he may not be open to running a second time for the GOP nomination should put such guesswork aside.
Huckabee is currently on a nationwide book tour to tout his most recent political tome and he spoke with conservative radio talk show host Kevin McCullough and said that, although he has made no decision about whether to seek the Republican nomination, he also has not ruled out a candidacy.
“I’m very much considering another run at the presidency,” Huckabee said in the discussion that took place Saturday night. “I find it interesting, some of these pundits say, ‘Huckabee’s not running’ … How do you know that? Because I don’t know that yet.”
“I haven’t decided that I would [run], but I most certainly have not made the decision that I would not,” Huckabee said.
The pro-life advocate may be keeping his options open if only because most polls of Republican voters show him as the top or one of the top few candidates and he matches up well against President Barack Obama in potential general election matchups. He noted: “virtually every poll that comes out shows me at the top … not only in state polls, but in national polls.”
Huckabee’s comments come right after a new Gallup poll released late last week showing Huckabee leading all potential Republican candidates but with 19 percent saying they are most likely to back him. This gives Huckabee a slight edge over Mitt Romney, who gets 15%, and Sarah Palin, who receives 12%.
“There is no clear front-runner for the 2012 Republican nomination, which is a departure from what it has been in years prior to a presidential election. Huckabee may be the closest thing to a front-runner at this point, but he has yet to hold a statistically significant lead in any survey,” Gallup said. “All of this underscores the current wide-open nature of the race, which could eventually find some structure in the coming months as the potential candidates make official decisions about entering the race, begin to campaign in earnest, and face each other in a series of scheduled debates starting in May.”
The poll sought to assess how the race might look if either Huckabee or Palin, or both, ultimately do not run, by asking Republicans to name their second and (in some instances) third choices for the nomination.
If Huckabee were not a candidate, most of his support would go to the top three remaining candidates. Romney and Palin would essentially tie for the lead, at 19% and 17%, respectively, with Gingrich getting a bump in support to 13%. Were Huckabee to run but not Palin, his current advantage over Romney would expand to seven points (23% to 16%), compared with the four-point edge he now has with all candidates in the race. Romney’s support would essentially be flat with Palin out of the field.
The March 18-22 poll included more than 1,000 Republicans and Republican-leaning independents.