Gov. Huckabee speaking at the FAMiLY Leadership Summit in Ames, IA.
Gov. Huckabee speaking at the FAMiLY Leadership Summit in Ames, IA.

Former Arkansas Governor and 2008 Iowa Caucus winner Mike Huckabee announced this weekend that after a 6-and-a-half year stint on Fox News he was leaving the network.

He said he was leaving because he could not absolutely rule a presidential run out.  He said he would not make a decision until late spring of this year.  Huckabee will be at the Iowa Freedom Summit later this month along with other politicians who may be taking a run for the White House later this year.

Personally, I think Huckabee is all but officially in.  He passed up on 2012, along with several other prominent Republicans, but the allure of not running against an incumbent President is sure to draw numerous candidates to the field.  Huckabee will be in a strong position having maintained a loyal base in Iowa and other states.  His name recognition has increased over the years due to his show on Fox News and his previous radio show.  He is also a favorite among Christian conservatives who have appreciated his strong support for pro-life measures, marriage and religious liberty.

He proved in 2008 and has demonstrated since that he is an extremely likable candidate and possesses superior communication skills.  Those attributes will serve him well in 2016.

It seems like a good time for him to run, and since he is leaving a lucrative contract I doubt he’d do that unless he was leaning toward running.

He will have some hurdles to face however.  He has still not shown to be an effective fundraiser.  In 2008 he was able to overcome that in Iowa, but with each primary it is necessary for a candidate to be able to raise funds.  There will be some of the same questions he faced in 2008 over his fiscal policies.  While he addressed those questions to the satisfaction of many Republicans at the time there were fewer choices.  2016 will bring out candidates who, are not only solid on social conservative issues, but won’t have the fiscal policy baggage that Huckabee has from his time as Governor.  He can’t count on overwhelming support from conservative Christians as there will other candidates who will also appeal to that group.

His previous support of Common Core, while he has walked that support back, will still be problematic in a year which will see the increasingly unpopular national education standards become a wedge issue.  Numerous prospective candidates such as Ted Cruz, Rand Paul, Rick Santorum, and Rick Perry have never supported the standards and have been vocal about it.  Louisiana Governor Bobby Jindal once supported the Common Core, but now has actively worked against it in his state.  Huckabee has stated some problems, but has not rejected the idea of a top-down push toward education reform that birthed the Common Core.

Also in 2008 Huckabee’s views on immigration was seen as weak, and that issue is certainly one that will be more prominent in 2016 after President Obama’s offered executive amnesty.  Santorum, Cruz, Perry and Jindal for instance have all taken harder-line positions.

In spite of this, Mike Huckabee, would come to Iowa in a stronger position than the last time he ran.  If he can navigate the hurdles he faces he could be a force on the campaign trail.

If you missed his announcement you can watch it below:

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