The ten-year governor of Arkansas and winner of the 2008 Iowa caucuses Mike Huckabee has ended his long shot second run for the presidency after apparently finishing a dismal ninth in Iowa this time around:
Huckabee, at first blush, had the potential to be a compelling candidate this year. In 2008, he cornered the market on evangelical voters who were suspicious of John McCain’s past hostility to the religious right, Rudy Giuliani’s pro-choice views and adultery, and Mitt Romney’s Mormonism.
Huckabee wound up beating Romney in Iowa, where evangelical turnout tends to be high in Republican caucuses, by nearly 10 points, with Fred Thompson, McCain, Ron Paul, and Giuliani trailing after.
He also gained a small but real following among certain conservative elites for his ideological heterodoxy on economic issues, and his willingness to address blue-collar workers’ frustrations with more than laissez-faire platitudes. As Ross Douthat, one of Huckabee’s biggest boosters in 2008, wrote last year, “He’s a politician who really does get, for reasons of intuition and biography, why a lot of conservative-leaning, economically-stressed Americans support his party reluctantly, if at all.”
Particularly after 2012, in which Republicans learned that nominating a former finance executive worth $250 million could make them seem out of touch, there was an argument to be made that Huckabee provide a worthwhile course correction for the party in 2016.