Republican Mike Huckabee joined the 2008 presidential race on Sunday. Huckabee is the former governor of Arkansas who left office earlier this month. He hails from Hope - the same hometown as former President Bill Clinton, a previous governor of Arkansas.
The ordained Baptist minister and former televangelist made his political debut by winning a special election for lieutenant governor in 1993. He was subsequently elected to a full four-year term as lieutenant governor in 1994. He was elevated to governor in 1996 when Democratic Governor Jim Guy Tucker resigned in a plea deal connected with the Whitewater scandal. In 1998, Huckabee was elected to his first full term as governor and then re-elected in 2002. He was elected to a one-year term as chairman of the National Governors Association in July of 2005.
Huckabee is a solid social conservative who has track record of opposing abortion as well as gay marriage and civil unions. In addition, he has been a strong supporter of President Bush and his handling of the war in Iraq. He will likely compete with Mitt Romney, Sam Brownback, Duncan Hunter, and Tom Tancredo for social conservative votes in his quest for the 2008 GOP presidential nomination. However, of those five candidates, Huckabee is this only southerner. This could make him an attractive choice for southern primary voters.
That is, of course, if he can survive Iowa and New Hampshire. Survival for him will probably mean finishing in the top three in Iowa and the top two in New Hampshire. Coming out of those two states as the only surviving social conservative in the nomination fight would be a major plus. No doubt, he would relish the thought of coming down the stretch in a three-way race with John McCain and Rudy Giuliani.
Formerly obese, Huckabee has waged a public battle with weight problems over the past several years, during which he has managed to lose a whopping 110 pounds. One of his presidential campaign slogans will likely be " I [heart symbol] Huckabee!"