Huckabees Decision Could Weigh Heavily On The Rest Of The Field

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With his polling numbers looking good on almost every front, Former Arkansas Governor and potential 2012 Presidential candidate Mike Huckabee’s decision whether or not to make a run in 2012 could weigh heavily on the chances of the other potential candidates. While Huckabee insists that he’s thinking seriously about running for president again there has been little to almost no organization or movement to show that he is prepared to officially enter the field. The latest evidence: Chip Saltsman, his campaign manager in 2008 and one of his closest confidantes, has accepted a job as Chief of Staff for freshman Rep. Chuck Fleischmann (R-TN).

So what impact would a Huckabee decision to NOT run have on the remainder of the field? For a few candidates it could help boost their profiles immensely. Most polls are showing Huckabee as the front runner for the Iowa caucuses, followed closely by Mitt Romney, Sarah Palin and Newt Gingrich. If Huckabee decides not to run, his evangelical Christian constituency—turned off by Romney’s Mormon faith and Gingrich’s messy love life—would be up for grabs. And if 2012 is anything like 2008, faith will dominate much of the debate leading up to the GOP primaries leaving Palin a chance to grab a large constituency of social conservative evangelicals.

Leading the list of lesser known potential candidates who would see a great boost should Huckabee decide to sit this one out are Former Pennsylvania Senator Rick Santorum whose faith and social stances would be attractive to Huckabee’s evangelical base as well as Former Minnesota Governor Tim Pawlenty, who has recently promised to reverse the repeal of the DADT policy. Also among those who would benefit from a Huckabee non-candidacy would be US Rep. Mike Pence and dark horse candidate Hermann Cain, who has been compared on many fronts to Palin.

It is still very early in the process but if early polling is any indication, Mike Huckabee potentially holds the cards for those candidates looking to garner the support of the evangelical right. It appears from early indications that as Huckabee goes, so will go that constituency. For the lesser known candidates, Huckabee’s decision to run or not to run could decide if they sink or swim in a primary. Now might be the time to be bartering for a endorsement from the Huck.

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