Fox News’s ban on employing active politicians has forced another potential candidate to publicly declare his intentions. For the past few months, former Arkansas governor Mike Huckabee has been laying the groundwork for a 2016 presidential run, and on Saturday he ended his weekly Fox News show by announcing he’s leaving the network after more than six years. “There has been a great deal of speculation as to whether I would run for president,” Huckabee said in an accompanying Facebook post. “I won’t make a decision about running until late in the spring of 2015, but the continued chatter has put Fox News into a position that is not fair to them. The honorable thing to do at this point is to end my tenure here at Fox so I can openly talk with potential donors and supporters and gauge support.”
In 2008, Huckabee won the Iowa caucus and several other Republican primaries, but lost the nomination to Senator John McCain. He then launched a successful career as a radio and TV host. After much speculation, he chose not to run in 2012.
While Huckabee is popular among evangelicals, the Washington Post reports that, as in 2008, it’s unclear if he has the organizational and fund-raising abilities to mount a competitive campaign. “You’re going to need $150 million to win the nomination, and probably $75 million to get you through Iowa, New Hampshire and South Carolina,” Ed Rollins, a former Huckabee adviser, told the Post. “That means 200 to 300 fundraising events and a vast, focused apparatus. Mike didn’t have that last time, and he still has to prove he can develop one.”
Like a certain Democratic front-runner, Huckabee is doing a campaign test-run in the next few months. His book God, Guns, Grits, and Gravy comes out later this month, and the book tour will take him to ten states in ten days, including Iowa and South Carolina. Huckabee probably won’t make a decision, or a serious fund-raising push, until after the tour is over. Even if that doesn’t pan out, the announcement probably means he’ll sell a few more books.