A Head Start for Huckabee?
01-11-2011
I guess this makes two consecutive posts about the presidential primaries prefaced with a question mark. This is because we can only speculate about the nature of the Republican presidential field at this point, although I expect it to quickly take shape over the next three months. Look for candidacies to drop like cascading dominoes, in which the official announcement of one major player spurs the entrance of many more into the race in rapid succession. I’m starting to hear regularly from media outlets in the home states of various presidential hopefuls, with questions about how their favorite son or daughter might play in the Granite State. This is always a sure sign that the contest is finally gearing up for takeoff.
 
In this vein, you may recall a post from about a month ago, in which I discussed former Arkansas Governor Mike Huckabee’s growing irritation with being left out of the 2012 presidential hopeful discussion. This frequent omission occurred despite Huckabee’s strong polling numbers in key early states like Iowa. New polling results continue to show Huckabee way out in front there, yet as I’ve talked to a variety of seasoned political observers over the past month, the most frequent comment I hear on this matter is Huckabee probably won’t run for president in 2012. I don’t think any of these folks have inside knowledge on the likelihood of a Huckabee candidacy, but the responses have been pretty uniform.
 
Huckabee clearly has a perception problem on his hands, and it’s one in which political elites largely believe the former governor is more interested in continuing to cultivate his political media celebrity and the increasingly sizeable paycheck that goes along with it, rather than actually jumping back into the political fray as a candidate. The speculation is that Huckabee is more likely to observe the 2012 race from the comfort of his Fox News studio than from a campaign headquarters. We will soon know whether political observers are correct, but in the meantime Huckabee is in the unusual position of being a frontrunner that needs to work harder than others to keep his name in the game.
 
Note: Back posting on Thursday. -Dean


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