Mike Huckabee

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Mike Huckabee
Governor of Arkansas
From: July 15, 1996 – January 9, 2007
Predecessor Jim Guy Tucker
Successor Mike Beebe
Former Lieutenant Governor of Arkansas
From: November 20, 1993 – July 15, 1996
Governor Jim Guy Tucker
Predecessor Jim Guy Tucker
Successor Winthrop Paul Rockefeller
Party Republican
Spouse(s) Janet Huckabee (1974–present)
Religion Southern Baptist

Michael Dale “Mike” Huckabee (born August 24, 1955, age 68) is a conservative American politician who served 11 years as governor of Arkansas (1996–2007) and was the runner-up to winner John McCain in the contest for the 2008 Republican nomination for president, attracting more support than Mitt Romney.[1] He is the leader against judicial supremacy and the infringement on constitutional rights caused by the homosexual agenda. He is pro-life and pro-Second Amendment. He announced his candidacy for the Republican nomination for president in the 2016 election on May 5, 2015,[2] and has participated in the 2016 presidential debates. His daughter Sarah Huckabee Sanders served as press secretary for former President Donald Trump beginning in July 2017.

Huckabee's position against judicial activism that pushes the homosexual agenda is principled and consistent. He has stated that as president he would not enforce the 5–4 U.S. Supreme Court decision on Obergefell, just as prior presidents including Andrew Jackson and Abraham Lincoln did not enforce overreaching by the Supreme Court in other decisions.

Huckabee, after many years as a television personality and motivational speaker, combines conservative policy positions with a winsome friendly attitude that puts voters at ease. Throughout the presidential primary, Huckabee was viewed favorably by conservatives and Christian organizations such as the Home School Legal Defense Association. Former Speaker of the House Newt Gingrich predicted that Huckabee would catch on with Republican primary voters, calling him "the most interesting dark horse."[3]

Critical to his move from obscurity to the top rank of political contenders was his evangelical base, his conservatism, his appeal to southerners and his likable personality.[4] After losing to McCain, Huckabee became a contributor on Fox News [5] and hosted his own show called Huckabee. After leaving the air, the show reappeared on Trinity Broadcasting Network in 2017. Huckabee is still a Fox News contributor and appears on many of the network's political programs.


Huckabee was born and raised in Hope, Arkansas, into a working-class family.[6] Huckabee in his early teens became a radio announcer and preacher. He attended nearby Ouachita Baptist University (BA 1975), and studied theology at Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary in Dallas, Texas (1976–80, no degree). He was a minister at Baptist churches in Pine Bluff and Texarkana, Arkansas in the 1980s, gaining fame for his preaching style and for his religious shows on television. He was elected in 1989 as president of the Arkansas Baptist Convention, with 490,000 members; he was elected as a moderate in opposition to the hardline conservatives.

Huckabee is the author of health books featuring his exercise and weight-loss exercise program, and bass guitar player for his rock band, Capitol Offense. He is married to Janet (née McCain); they have three children, including Sarah Huckabee Sanders.

2008 Caucuses and Primaries

For a more detailed treatment, see Mike Huckabee 2008 Presidential Campaign.

Almost unknown in mid-2007, he climbed the polls steadily and won the closely watched Iowa caucus on Jan. 3, 2008. His base of support comprised "born again" evangelical Christians, who comprise 35% of the GOP voters.[7]

Huckabee's campaign started to take off in summer 2007 after the high-profile Ames Straw Poll, where he came in 2nd place (18%) to Gov. Romney's 32%, ahead of Sen. Brownback's 15%. He won second place despite far less name recognition and far less spending - he spent about $35 per vote, whereas Romney spent more than $500 per vote. His victory placed him in the top tier of Republican primary candidates.[8][9][10] His second surge began after the Republican YouTube debate, where he was seen as calm, reasonable and positive next to the other candidates, many of whom attacked each other.

He was the winner of the straw poll after the Sept. 17th "valuesdebate".[11] In October 2007, Huckabee overwhelmingly won the high-profile Family Research Counsel's Value Voter Summit straw poll. Out of those attending, Huckabee received more votes then all other candidates combined.[12]

Poll numbers show that Huckabee's strong debate performances, communication skills and likability had him steadily moving up in key primary states. He was victorious in the Republican Caucuses at the Iowa Caucuses,[13] and came in third place in the New Hampshire Primary, where he personally expected to not even place in the top three.[14]

Huckabee perfected the shoestring operation. He raised only $2.3 million by October 2007, less than 5% of the money of each main rival. He never had enough money to send advance teams to organize events or drum up crowds, nor could he afford fund-raising operations, private polls, big-name political consultants, or a staff of policy advisers and media experts. He relied on volunteers from churches and the home-school movement to schedule his events. The retail politics of the first states did not cost much. He won in Iowa by relying on his quick wit, fluent oratory, and in lieu of commercials, as many TV and radio talk-show appearances as he could schedule. To draw crowds his rallies featured Hollywood star Chuck Norris and his own playing the bass guitar with local rock bands. As the election calendar turned to larger states he lacked the cash to compete, so in late Jan. 2008 he cut back on Florida operations to concentrate on a few smaller, overlooked southern states on Feb. 5.[15]

He came in third in the Michigan primaries and a close second to McCain in South Carolina. He came fourth in the Florida Primary, losing to McCain, Romney, and Giuliani. Although he lost ground after a consistent string of defeats, he continued on to Super Tuesday. He succeeded in Alabama, Arkansas (his home state), Georgia, Tennessee and West Virginia. His success helped cause Mitt Romney to withdraw from the race. Despite McCain's unbeatable lead in delegates, Huckabee continued on trying to cause a split convention. He won the primaries in Kansas and Louisiana. But he lost all the primaries on Super Tuesday II and McCain succeeded in gaining the 1,191 delegates needed to win. Huckabee withdrew and endorsed Senator McCain.

He spoke at the Republican National Convention in favor of the McCain/Palin ticket, along with his former rivals, Fred Thompson, Rudy Giuliani, Mitt Romney, and Sam Brownback.

Record as Governor

As governor of Arkansas, Huckabee both cut and raised taxes. For example, during his ten years in office, the Arkansas legislature enacted increases in tobacco, sales, and fuels taxes; however he also signed into legislation tax cuts over 90 times during that period. During his tenure as Governor welfare rolls declined by nearly half, and last year the state's economy grew 4.4%, beating the national average of 4.2%.[16]

In 1997 he introduced ARKids First, a health care plan which cut the number of Arkansas uninsured children in half.[17]

Throughout his tenure he also supported and helped pass pro-life bills through the Democrat controlled legislature.

In 2005 Time Magazine declared him one of "America's 5 Best Governors".[18]

In his gubernatorial elections, Huckabee had strong support by minorities, and he reaches out to minority voters in the Republican primary for president more than most other candidates.[19]

Political Beliefs


As governor, he signed the first broad-based tax-cut in state history and cut taxes over ninety times. Huckabee believes that the United States should enact a tax system known as the FairTax, this system replaces the income tax with a voluntary consumption tax. Recently he signed the Presidential Taxpayer Protection Pledge to Americans for Tax Reform which promises to not raise taxes if elected president.[20]


During his tenure, state spending rose 65.3% between 1996 and 2004, which was 3 times the rate of inflation. This has led to strong criticism from conservative groups like the Club for Growth. However, when he left office there was a surplus of over $800 million.[21] Huckabee has called on Bush to veto more spending bills by the democrat controlled congress.[22] In August 2007, Grover Norquist, the president of Americans for Tax Reform, stated "Gov. Huckabee recognizes that the challenge is to rein in spending and reduce taxes."[23]


According to National Review, as Governor of Arkansas, Huckabee signed a bill requiring parental consent for abortion, and mandating notification by abortion providers to prospective parents that the unborn baby may feel pain, he also helped pass a bill through the Democratic-controlled legislature which stated that life began at conception.[24][25] He also signed the Fetal Protection Act. He is known to be strongly pro-life.

He would favor Roe v. Wade being overturned and the federal governments recognition that life begins at conception.


Huckabee is opposed to same-sex "marriage" and civil unions. He also is a strong advocate for fathers' participation in child-raising.[26]

Second Amendment Rights

As governor, he signed bills blocking frivolous lawsuits against gun manufacturers and removing restrictions on concealed handgun permit holders. He became the first governor in the nation to have a concealed handgun license.[27]


Huckabee opposed the McCain-Kennedy immigration bill because he stated it had problems with "credibility; secrecy; and spending".[28] He believes the United States should seal the border first and deport illegal immigrants who have committed crimes.[29]

Vertical Politics

While campaigning, Huckabee has referred to what he calls Vertical Politics - politics aimed at making America stronger rather than festering partisanship. Huckabee said, "Everywhere I go on the campaign trail, I meet voters with a real thirst for a healthy discussion of the issues. Ultimately, people don't care whether an issue comes from the left or the right. What they want to talk about are ideas that lift America up and make us better. It's what I call 'Vertical Politics'." [30]


Huckabee playing with his band, Capital Offense, during the 2007 Iowa Straw Poll

Huckabee was born in Hope, Arkansas, the same town where former president Bill Clinton was born. This coincidence led to one of Huckabee's campaign slogans, "give Hope one more chance." Huckabee lost 110 pounds while governor of Arkansas and documented his weight loss and set out a 12-step plan for weight loss in his book Quit Digging Your Grave With a Knife and Fork.[31] He has also made childhood obesity a major platform issue. He became the first person in his family to attend college when he attended Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary, in Fort Worth, Texas; he graduated in only two and a half years.

Now living in Florida, the 52-year-old former governor and his wife lived for years in Little Rock and have three grown children. His youngest child, and only daughter, is Sarah Huckabee Sanders, the former White House Press Secretary under President Donald Trump and candidate for Arkansas Governor (if successful it would make her the first child of a former Governor to serve in that position). Huckabee enjoys playing in his rock-n-roll band, Capitol Offense, which has played at the House of Blues in New Orleans, the Red Rocks Amphitheater in Denver, and for two presidential inauguration balls.


  • "We've had a congress that's spent money like John Edwards at a beauty shop."[32]
  • "…my faith is my life. It defines me. I see no separation between my faith from my personal and professional lives."[33]
  • "When it comes to the red tape in government, I don't think I can part the Red Sea but I believe I can part the red tape."[34]
  • "[Some of my opponents] do not want to change the Constitution, but I believe it's a lot easier to change the constitution than it would be to change the word of the living God, and that's what we need to do is to amend the Constitution so it's in God's standards rather than try to change God's standards."[35]
  • "To think that we're going to go lock up 12 million people, or even round them up and drive them to the border and let them go, might make a great political speech, but it's not going to happen." Washington Post, May, 2006.
  • "(I) propose to provide all illegal immigrants a 120-day window to register with the Bureau of Citizenship and Immigration Services and leave the country." Secure America Plan", December, 2007.
  • "I didn’t major in math. I majored in miracles and I still believe in them." (In response to questions about his continuing campaign even after the liberal news media dismissed his primary campaign as a failure.)[36]



For the first time in the organizations history, the Home School Legal Defense Association Political Action Committee endorsed a political candidate. The organization, which consists of 90,000 members, stated that they decided to endorse Huckabee because of he was, "conservative, a friend of homeschooling, a man of character, and a man with a mature faith in Jesus Christ".[37]

South Carolina

Huckabee has received some key endorsement during the course of his primary race. One such endorsement came from former South Carolina Governor, David Beasley, who had before planned on staying on the sidelines throughout the Republican primary.[38]

Huckabee received another South Carolina endorsement from Iris Campbell, the former South Carolina First Lady and wife of former governor, the late Mike Campbell.[39] During Mike Campbell's time in office, from 1987 to 1994, his endorsement of Ronald Reagan boosted the underdog's presidential primary race.


In August 2007, Huckabee received a key endorsement from Virginia's House of Delegates Speaker William J. Howell. Howell has been a member of the Board of Directors of the American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC), the nation's largest bipartisan, individual membership association of state legislators.[40]

New Hampshire

Huckabee picked up some key endorsements in the very significant primary in New Hampshire. In August 2007, New Hampshire's former Senator, Russell Prescott, and former Executive Councilor David Wheeler endorsed Huckabee.[41] Both figures remain very popular with social conservatives in the state.[42]


He came under attack as a "tax-and-spend liberal," especially by his unsuccessful rival Fred Thompson,[43] whose candidacy ended up helping John McCain. Huckabee's funding base was meager, with his family providing much of his organizational support.

Some have criticized grants of clemency by Huckabee while he was governor, although the media have distorted the record. Huckabee never released from jail Maurice Clemmons, who was unanimously released by the Arkansas parole board and nearly a decade later (and multiple imprisonments and releases) murdered four police officers in Seattle in November 2009. Huckabee faced criticism during the 2008 primaries for granting a pardon to convicted rapist Wayne DuMond. Like Clemmons, DuMond returned to a life of crime, earning a second conviction before dying in prison in 2005.[44]


  1. Huckabee bows out 5 March 2008 Arkansas Online
  2. https://www.foxnews.com/politics/2015/05/05/huckabee-announces-2016-white-house-bid/
  3. http://www.wmcstations.com/Global/story.asp?S=6899608
  4. Dan Balz, "Huckabee's Rise and Rise," Washington Post Dec. 10, 2007; Michael D. Shear and Juliet Eilperin, "Suddenly, Huckabee Is in Romney's Rearview Mirror," Washington Post Nov. 25, 2007; "Shields and Brooks Mull Iowa Election Push, Baseball Scandal" PBS, Dec. 14, 2007
  5. http://embeds.blogs.foxnews.com/2008/06/12/huckabee-joins-fox-as-contributor/ Huckabee joins Fox as Contributor
  6. He did not overlap in Hope with Bill Clinton (1946- ) who was also born in Hope; Clinton left as a small child.
  7. . Evangelicals comprise 48%-68% of Republicans in the South and border states, 47% in Iowa, and only 11% in New Hampshire. Andrew Kohut, "The G.O.P.’s Unanswered Question," New York Times Jan. 11, 2008
  8. https://www.cbsnews.com/stories/2007/08/12/ftn/main3159786.shtml
  9. http://www.humanevents.com/article.php?id=22081
  10. http://www.americanresearchgroup.com/
  11. http://www.earnedmedia.org/kg0918.htm
  12. http://weblogs.baltimoresun.com/news/politics/blog/2007/10/romney_camp_stacking_the_value.html
  13. https://www.cnn.com/2007/POLITICS/04/21/s.c.straw.poll/index.html
  14. http://youdecide08.foxnews.com/2008/01/08/hillary-clinton-john-mccain-take-early-lead-in-new-hampshire-primary/
  15. David D. Kirkpatrick, "Huckabee’s Money Woes Curtail Campaign," New York Times Jan. 22. 2008
  16. http://www.time.com/time/magazine/article/0,9171,1129494,00.html
  17. http://www.time.com/time/magazine/article/0,9171,1129494,00.html
  18. http://www.time.com/time/magazine/article/0,9171,1129494,00.html
  19. https://www.washingtonpost.com/politics/mike-huckabee-looking-for-a-niche-woos-blacks-in-gop-primaries/2015/07/27/cf6fc468-3081-11e5-97ae-30a30cca95d7_story.html
  20. http://www.atr.org/content/html/2007/march/030207pr-huckabeesignspledge.html
  21. http://www.clubforgrowth.org/2007/01/a_report_on_mike_huckabees_fis.php
  22. http://www.ajc.com/news/content/metro/cobb/stories/2007/09/08/huckabee_0909.html
  23. http://www.atr.org/content/html/2007/march/030207pr-huckabeesignspledge.html
  24. http://www.explorehuckabee.com/index.cfm?FuseAction=Issues.View&Issue_ID=11
  25. http://article.nationalreview.com/?q=NmNjMmI1ODhjNGVlZWFmNTlmMGNiZTVjYTg1NTUzMTk=
  26. http://www.ontheissues.org/Mike_Huckabee.htm
  27. http://www.explorehuckabee.com
  28. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mike_Huckabee
  29. http://www.mikehuckabee.com/index.cfm?FuseAction=Issues.View&Issue_id=4
  30. http://www.mikehuckabee.com/index.cfm?FuseAction=verticalday.home
  31. http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/7752179/site/newsweek/
  32. GOP presidential debate May 2006 The Loft Accessed 3 January 2008.
  33. Faith and Politics mikehuckabee.com Accessed 3 January 2008.
  34. GOP presidential debate Iowa, 12 December 2007.
  35. http://firstread.msnbc.msn.com/archive/2008/01/15/579265.aspx
  36. Mike Huckabee's campaign rolls on February 2008
  37. http://huckabee08.blogspot.com/2007/06/huckabee-on-roll-endorsements-and-polls.html
  38. http://www.sptimes.com/2007/05/27/news_pf/Opinion/Huckabee_s__a_maratho.shtml
  39. http://hotlineblog.nationaljournal.com/archives/2007/02/endorsement_wat.html
  40. http://www.mikehuckabee.com/index.cfm?FuseAction=NewsRoom.PressRelease&ID=216
  41. http://www.boston.com/news/local/politics/primarysource/2007/08/huckabee_endors.html
  42. http://www.boston.com/news/local/politics/primarysource/2007/08/huckabee_endors.html
  43. See criticism reported by Jennifer Rubin, "Romney and Huckabee: Club for Growth Comparisons," from Human Events Aug. 24, 2007
  44. In 1992, conservatives lambasted Democratic presidential nominee Mike Dukakis for his actions as governor in allowing Willie Horton to go free. See Andy Barr, "Conservatives hammer Mike Huckabee over shooting," Politico Nov. 30, 2009

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  • Barone, Michael, and Richard E, Cohen. Almanac of American Politics: 2006 (2005)