Mike Huckabee announced on his Fox News show Saturday night that he won't be seeking the Republican presidential nomination. "All the factors say go, but my heart says no," the former Arkansas governor said. "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."
Huckabee made it clear though that even if he won't seek the nomination, he will still be part of the process. And he pointed out that despite reports to the contrary, his family was supportive of another presidential bid. The winner of the 2008 Iowa caucuses is still a highly popular figure, particularly among social conservatives, and would have immediatley been a serious contender had he decided to run. Huckabee was sure to point that out Saturday, noting polls place him "at or near the top" among likely Republican candidates. "For me, the discussion and decision is ultimately not a political one, it's not a financial one, it's not even a practical one—it's a spiritual one," he said.
But his announcement wasn't exactly surprising. Earlier reports noted that he was keeping his senior aides in the dark about the final decision, which would have been an unusual move for someone organizing a run for the White House. Ed Rollins, the man who directed Huckabee’s 2008 campaign and who has been laying the groundwork for a 2012 run, admitted as much Friday, telling the Wall Street Journal, “I’ve heard nothing, which indicated to me he’s not running.”
Huckabee isn’t the only GOP contender blurring the lines between his television career and his political one. Donald Trump is set to use next weekend’s finale of The Apprentice as a platform to make an announcement about his presidential aspirations. Trump’s announcement, however, will be much less definitive. He has said that he will only announce the details of a subsequent press conference where he’ll than announce his decision.
In what seemed to be a cheeky nod to those who were comparing him to Trump, Huckabee had the real estate mogul do a statement at the end of his show.
News of the announcement followed what has become a predictable pattern for 2012 contenders: First there was word of an upcoming “very important announcement” and then, only hours later, came confirmation that it would be a final announcement on a potential White House run.
The difference between Huckabee’s elongated decision and say those of Newt Gingrich and Ron Paul, both of whom announced official presidential campaigns this week, is that the news of Huckabee’s announcement was not accompanied by news of his actual decision.