Thursday, May 5, 2011

Mike Huckabee Ramping Up for a Run (Updated)

Supporters of Mike Huckabee will be happy to learn that after Memorial Day their choice for the Republican nomination may be throwing his hat into the ring. A detailed report out today by Erin McPike of Real Clear Politics states that Fox News has given Mike Huckabee until the end of May to make his decision. This coincides with Huckabee's contract which is up for renewal in June.

Yesterday Huckabee was inside the Beltway raising funds for republicans as well as his own PAC. According to the Wall St Journal, supporters who donated $1000 were given the opportunity to ask Huckabee exclusive questions about his intentions for the nomination.

Ed Rollins recently stated that Huckabee would need to make a decision by June 1st. In McPike's article, we learn:

Edward J. Rollins, who joined Huckabee's team as national chairman in mid-December of 2007 -- just weeks before Huckabee solidly won the 2008 Iowa caucuses -- has been charged with setting up shop.

According to a confidant of Rollins who has been slated for a high-level position in the potential campaign, "Ed has had long and serious discussions with Mike as recently as this past weekend." Rollins would manage the first phase of the Huckabee campaign this time.

On a national level, Rollins has gotten verbal agreements from experienced Republican operatives who would join the team. A political director, fundraising team, media team, communications director, press staff, policy shop and opposition research outfit are locked and loaded. Serious discussions with a respected national pollster are ongoing, and several national Republican operatives have told RealClearPolitics that they've gotten calls with the message: "This thing is happening. Do you want to be a part of it?"

The gathering national team has a different take, though. Rollins has worked on nine presidential campaigns and has developed many contacts over that time, and he has recruited a team over the last four months that will be ready to roll if Huckabee pulls the trigger.

As a consequence of that more professional, experienced team, some of the players who surrounded Huckabee last time aren't necessarily needed anymore. In other words, Huckabee was an upstart last time and couldn't attract top-tier talent, and he didn't even have some of the most significant leaders of the religious right on board when he started in 2007.

More than 40,000 Iowans picked him in the 2008 caucuses, and those in Huckabee's inner circle expect that his daughter, Sarah Huckabee, will run the operation for her father in the Hawkeye State this time, coming off of her successful role in managing Arkansas Republican Sen. John Boozman's 2010 race.

Now, he may have to offer his decision by the end of the month. Republican operatives familiar with the deliberations at Fox News say that the network has told Huckabee he has until the end of the month to make up his mind about the race or he'll be cut off, just as Newt Gingrich and Rick Santorum were when the then-contributors were still in the consideration phase.

Noting Barbour's decision not to run, Beasley said, "I think the landscape is conducive for a Mike Huckabee entrance. Right now, we're putting together the team and putting the word out that Mike Huckabee is seriously considering this race."

He added that with Huckabee's current national notoriety, "this time around it's a whole different ballgame. He's in a good position at this stage of the process.

Mike Huckabee has consistently said that if and when he decides to run, it will be his race, his pace. Looks like Huckabee is ready to get into the starting block. His supporters are not only ready in the stands to cheer him on, but are anxiously awaiting the sound of the starting gun, so that they themselves can work to get him the nomination.

* Update:  Since this posted earlier this morning, Mike Huckabee has issued a statement via Huck PAC:
During a Huck PAC fundraiser yesterday in the DC area - Gov. Huckabee was asked about a Presidential run and he told the group privately the same thing he's said countless times publicly. The Governor's comment was tweeted by a Congressman who was in the meeting: 'people that say they definitely know I'm not running, don't know - those that say they definitely know I am, don't know - I don't know.' What does it say about the news when a Congressman can report real quotes that actually came from Governor Huckabee - while journalists use other sources and unsubstantiated rumor?

The Governor has been clear - his timeline for a decision is this summer and that has not changed. Fox is aware of the Governor's timetable and he is aware of his limitations in considering another run.

** Additional information regarding Fox News deadline:
Fox News denied that it has given former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee (R) a deadline of the end of May to decide whether to run for president.

A senior Fox official disputed a report Thursday by Real Clear Politics that Huckabee has been given a deadline of the end of May to decide whether to enter the race for the Republican presidential nomination, which would prompt him to forfeit his lucrative contract with the network.

"There is no truth whatsoever to this report," said Bill Shine, the executive vice president of programming for Fox. 

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