- Mike Huckabee
Mike Huckabee Mike Huckabee speaking at the Republican Leadership Conference in 2011 44th Governor of Arkansas In office
July 15, 1996 – January 8, 2007
Lieutenant Winthrop Paul Rockefeller Preceded by Jim Guy Tucker Succeeded by Mike Beebe 12th Lieutenant Governor of Arkansas In office
November 20, 1993 – July 15, 1996
Governor Jim Guy Tucker Preceded by Jim Guy Tucker Succeeded by Winthrop Paul Rockefeller Chairman of the National Governors Association In office
Preceded by Mark Warner Succeeded by Janet Napolitano Personal details Born Michael Dale Huckabee
August 24, 1955
Hope, Arkansas, United States
Nationality American Political party Republican Spouse(s) Janet Huckabee Children John Mark, David, and Sarah Residence Santa Rosa Beach, Florida Alma mater Ouachita Baptist University Profession Politician, Author, Public Speaker, & ordained Minister Religion Southern Baptist Signature Website www.mikehuckabee.com
Michael "Mike" Dale Huckabee (born August 24, 1955) is an American politician who served as the 44th Governor of Arkansas from 1996 to 2007. He was a candidate in the 2008 United States Republican presidential primaries, finishing second in delegate count and third in both popular vote and number of states won (behind both John McCain and Mitt Romney). He won the Iowa Republican caucuses. Huckabee exited the race as McCain became the presumptive Republican nominee after winning the delegate winner-take-all states of Florida, California, and New York State.
Huckabee is the author of several best selling books, an ordained Southern Baptist minister, musician and a public speaker. He is also an ABC Radio political commentator. He and his wife, Janet, have been married for 36 years and have three grown children: John Mark, David, and Sarah. Janet Huckabee was an unsuccessful candidate for Arkansas Secretary of State in 2002.
- 1 Early life
- 2 Pastoral career
- 3 Early political career
- 4 Governor of Arkansas
- 5 Post-governorship
- 6 Political positions
- 7 Electoral history
- 8 Public image
- 9 Personal life
- 10 Books
- 11 References
- 12 External links
Huckabee was born in Hope, Arkansas, to Mae Elder (1925–1999) and Dorsey Wiles Huckabee (1923–1996), conservative Southern Democrats. He has cited his working-class upbringing as the reason for his de-centralized populist conservative political views; his father worked as a fireman and mechanic, and his mother worked as a clerk at a gas company.
His first job, at 14, was working at a radio station where he read the news and weather. He was elected Governor of Arkansas by his chapter of the American Legion-sponsored Boys State program in 1972 and is a Hugh O'Brian Youth Leadership Foundation alumnus. He was student council vice president at Hope High School during the 1971-72 school year. He was student council president at Hope High School during the 1972-1973 school year. He has one sister, Mrs. Pat Harris, a middle school teacher.
Huckabee married his wife Janet on May 25, 1974. He graduated magna cum laude from Ouachita Baptist University, completing his bachelor's degree in Religion in 2½ years before attending Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary in Fort Worth, Texas. He dropped out of the seminary after one year in order to take a job in Christian broadcasting.
At 21, Huckabee was a staffer for James Robison, a television evangelist. Robison commented, "His convictions shape his character and his character will shape his policies. His whole life has been shaped by moral absolutes." Huckabee has stated, "Politics are totally directed by worldview. That's why when people say, 'We ought to separate politics from religion,' I say to separate the two is absolutely impossible". Prior to his political career, Huckabee served as pastor at Immanuel Baptist Church in Pine Bluff, Arkansas from 1980 to 1986 and the Beech Street Baptist Church in Texarkana from 1986 to 1992. In both Texarkana and Pine Bluff Huckabee started 24-hour television stations "where he produced documentaries and hosted a program called Positive Alternatives. He encouraged the all-white Immanuel Baptist Church to accept black members in the mid 1980s. He served as president of a religion-oriented television station. In 1989 Huckabee ran against the Rev. Dr. Ronnie Floyd of Springdale for the presidency of the Arkansas Baptist State Convention. Huckabee won and served as president from 1989 to 1991.
Early political career
In 1992, in Huckabee's first political race, he lost to incumbent Senator and conservative Democrat Dale Bumpers, receiving 40 percent of the vote in the general election. That same election saw Arkansas Governor Bill Clinton ascend to the Presidency, making Lieutenant Governor Jim Guy Tucker the new Governor. In 1993, Republican state chairman Asa Hutchinson urged Huckabee to run in the special election for lieutenant governor held on July 27. Realizing his loss came among key conservative Democrats, Huckabee ran a decidedly conservative campaign appealing to several important conservative groups such as the Council of Conservative Citizens (CofCC). In the subsequent general election, he defeated Nate Coulter, who had been Bumpers' campaign manager the previous year, 51-49 percent. Huckabee became only the second Republican since Reconstruction to serve as Arkansas lieutenant governor, the first having been Maurice Britt from 1967 to 1971.
In his autobiography From Hope to Higher Ground, Huckabee recalled the chilly reception that he received from the Arkansas Democratic establishment on his election as lieutenant governor:
"The doors to my office were spitefully nailed shut from the inside, office furniture and equipment were removed, and the budget spent down to almost nothing prior to our arriving. After fifty-nine days of public outcry, the doors were finally opened for me to occupy the actual office I had been elected to hold two months earlier."
Dick Morris, who had previously worked for Bill Clinton, advised Huckabee on his races in 1993, 1994 and 1998. Huckabee commented that Morris was a "personal friend". A newspaper article reported on Huckabee's 1993 win: "Morris said the mistake Republicans always make is that they are too much of a country club set. What we wanted to do was run a progressive campaign that would appeal to all Arkansans.'" Morris elaborated, "So we opened the campaign with ads that characterized Mike as more of a moderate whose values were the same as those of other Arkansans." Consequently, he abandoned his earlier support for the CofCC when in April 1994 following an adverse media campaign against the CofCC, Huckabee withdrew from a speaking engagement before their national convention. He repeated the accusations made by various media and left-wing organizations such as the Southern Poverty Law Center recalling his past association with the CofCC saying, "I will not participate in any program that has racist overtones. I've spent a lifetime fighting [against] racism and anti-Semitism."
In 1994, Huckabee was re-elected to a full term as lieutenant governor, beating Democratic candidate Charlie Cole Chaffin with nearly 59 percent of the vote. However, the amount of money spent by Huckabee on the campaign gave cause to accusations of possible corruption. In subsequent investigations it was revealed that while Lieutenant Governor, Huckabee accepted $71,500 in speaking fees and traveling expenses from a nonprofit group, Action America. R. J. Reynolds was the group's largest contributor.
In October 1995, David Pryor announced that he was retiring from the United States Senate. Huckabee then announced he was running for the open seat and moved well ahead in the polls. He won the Republican nomination unopposed.
During his campaign, Huckabee opposed in December then-Governor Tucker's plan for a constitutional convention. The plan was defeated by voters, 80-20 percent, in a special election. In January 1996, Huckabee campaigned in televised ads paid for by the Republican National Committee and the Arkansas Republican Party against a highway referendum. Tucker supported the referendum, which included tax increases and a bond program, to improve 1,300 miles (2,100 km) of highway. On the referendum, the bond question, which included a sales tax increase and a gas tax increase, lost 87-13 percent. A second question, a five-cent increase on diesel tax, lost 86-14 percent. Huckabee also opposed Tucker's plan for school consolidation.
In May 1996, Tucker, involved in the Whitewater scandal, was convicted "on one count of arranging nearly $3 million in fraudulent loans" and he promised to resign by July 15. Huckabee then announced he would quit the Senate race and instead fill the unexpired term of Tucker.
Governor of Arkansas
In 1996, incumbent Democratic governor Jim Guy Tucker was convicted of fraud. The Arkansas Constitution, like nearly all state constitutions in the United States, does not allow convicted felons to hold office, so Tucker was forced to resign. However, Tucker, insisting he had a strong case for appeal, rescinded his resignation as Huckabee was preparing to be sworn in on July 16. Within a few hours, Tucker reinstated his resignation after Huckabee threatened to initiate impeachment proceedings against Tucker. Huckabee was sworn in as Governor of Arkansas on July 15, 1996. In November 1998, Huckabee was elected to a full four-year term by defeating retired Colonel Gene McVay in the primary and Jonesboro attorney Bill Bristow in the general election, becoming the state's third elected Republican Governor since Reconstruction. In November 2002, Huckabee was reelected to his second four-year term by defeating State Treasurer Jimmie Lou Fisher, garnering 53 percent of the vote. By the end of his term, Huckabee owned the third-longest tenure of any Arkansas Governor. Only Democrats Orval Faubus, who served six consecutive two-year terms (1955–1967), and Bill Clinton, who served 11 years, 11 months (1979–1981; 1983–1992), had longer tenures.
Huckabee said that his experience as a minister afforded him special insight in being governor:
"My experience dealing every day with real people who were genuinely affected by policies created by government gave me a deep understanding of the fragility of the human spirit and vulnerability of so many families who struggled from week to week. I was in the ICU at 2 a.m. with families faced with the decision to disconnect a respirator on their loved one; I counseled fifteen-year-old pregnant girls who were afraid to tell their parents about their condition; I spent hours hearing the grief of women who had been physically and emotionally clobbered by an abusive husband; I saw the anguish in the faces of an elderly couple when their declining health forced them to sell their home, give up their independence, and move into a long-term-care facility; I listened to countless young couples pour out their souls as they struggled to get their marriages into survival mode when confronted with overextended debt . . . "
2008 presidential election campaign
Huckabee announced his run for the White House on Meet the Press on January 28, 2007.
At the August 11 Iowa Straw Poll, Huckabee took second place with 2,587 votes, roughly 18 percent, splitting the conservative Republican party votes amongst other candidates. Huckabee spent $57.98 per vote in the Straw Poll, which is the lowest among the top three finishers. Huckabee drew attention with an unconventional ad featuring Chuck Norris. In a later ad Huckabee wished voters a merry Christmas, and said that "what really matters is the celebration of the birth of Christ." In a replay of his past speeches to other conservative Christian organizations such as the CofCC, some critics accused him being right-wing Christian, and it appeared he might back-pedal as he did with the CofCC. However, rather than repudiate his speech he merely denied it was politically incorrect. This lack of defense of his issues before conservative and Christian organizations caused several media outlets to pursue his past speeches. One such questioning asked Huckabee to deny or defend his position regarding America being a historically Christian Nation. According to the Associated Press, on NBC's Meet The Press on December 31, 2007, Huckabee "stood by" a 1998 comment in which he said, "I hope we answer the alarm clock and take this nation back for Christ." Huckabee told NBC that his comment was not politically incorrect and was "appropriate to be said to a gathering of Southern Baptists." Huckabee has credited God with some of his political success.
On January 3, 2008, Huckabee won the Iowa Republican caucuses, receiving 34% of the electorate and 17 delegates, compared to the 25% of Mitt Romney who finished second, receiving 12 delegates, Fred Thompson who came in third place and received three delegates, John McCain who came in fourth place and received three delegates and Ron Paul who came in fifth place and received two delegates.
On January 8, 2008, Huckabee finished in third place in the New Hampshire primary, behind John McCain in first place, and Mitt Romney who finished second, with Huckabee receiving one more delegate for a total of 18 delegates, gained via elections, and 21 total delegates, versus 30 total (24 via elections) for Romney, and 10 for McCain (all via elections).
On January 15, 2008, Huckabee finished in third place in the Michigan Republican primary, 2008, behind John McCain in second place, Mitt Romney who finished first and ahead of Ron Paul who finished in fourth place.
On February 5, 2008, Huckabee won the first contest of "Super Tuesday", the West Virginia GOP state convention, but only after the McCain campaign provided their delegates thereby giving Huckabee 52% of the electorate to Mitt Romney's 47%. Backers of rival John McCain said they threw Huckabee their support to prevent Mitt Romney from capturing the winner-take-all GOP state convention vote. Subsequently, despite his past repudiation of the CofCC, in a nominee list which included liberal Republicans such as McCain and moderate Republicans such as Romney, Huckabee remained the most conservative nominee in the context. Consequently, he also registered victories in Alabama, Arkansas, Georgia and Tennessee on Super Tuesday, bringing his delegate count up to 156, compared to 689 for Republican party front-runner John McCain.
On February 9, 2008, Huckabee won the first election following Super Tuesday, by winning 60% of the vote in the Kansas Republican Caucuses. This was also the first contest to be held without Mitt Romney, who was said to be splitting the conservative vote with Huckabee and some pundits suggested it was the reason for Huckabee's landslide victory. Huckabee also won the Louisiana Republican Primary with 44% of the vote to John McCain's 43% in second. Although Huckabee won the primary he was not awarded any delegates, because of the state party rules that state a candidate must pass the 50% threshold to receive the state's pledged delegates.
On March 4, 2008, Huckabee withdrew from seeking the candidacy as it became apparent he would lose in Texas, where he had hoped to win and that John McCain would get the 1191 delegates required to win the Republican nomination.
After the presidential campaign
Even though Huckabee had signed a television contract and a book deal with a pressing deadline, he was mentioned by most to be on then-presumptive Republican presidential nominee John McCain's short list for his Vice Presidential running mate. Huckabee was eventually passed over for Sarah Palin. The late pundit Tim Russert even referred to Huckabee as "Vice President Huckabee" several times when he appeared on Meet The Press on May 18, 2008.
Former President Bill Clinton has praised Huckabee and stated that he is a rising star in the Republican Party. Clinton and Huckabee have collaborated on initiatives such as the fight against childhood obesity. Former Tennessee Republican Party Chairman and Huckabee's former campaign manager Chip Saltsman has called governor Huckabee, "The most successful failed presidential candidate in the history of our country."
Since the campaign Huckabee has published, Do The Right Thing: Inside the Movement That's Bringing Common Sense Back to America (released on November 18, 2008) which became a New York Times Best Seller and "A Simple Christmas" (November 3, 2009), a non-political book.
On June 12, 2008, Fox News announced it was hiring Huckabee as a political commentator and regular contributor to their 2008 American presidential election coverage, in their New York election headquarters.
Huckabee filled in for Paul Harvey in July 2008. A few months later, he signed a deal with ABC Radio Networks to carry a daily commentary, The Huckabee Report, beginning in January 2009. After Harvey's death his show replaced Harvey's broadcasts.
Huckabee hosts a weekend show, Huckabee, on Fox News Channel, which premiered Saturday September 27, 2008, at 8 PM EST.
As governor, Huckabee commuted and accepted recommendations for pardon for twice as many sentences as his three predecessors combined; in total: 1,033 prisoners. Twelve of those had previously been convicted of murder. Huckabee’s pardons and commutations became an issue during the 2008 Republican Primary, with most of the controversy focusing on Wayne Dumond. Huckabee's handling of clemency petitions received national attention in November 2009 with the case of Maurice Clemmons. Clemmons had committed burglary without a weapon, and his 60-year sentence was commuted by Huckabee to 47 years, making him eligible for parole if approved by the parole board. The prosecuting attorney of Pulaski County, Arkansas vehemently objected to the commutation. As factors in his decision, Huckabee cited the unusually long sentence of 108 years for Clemmons, who was 17 at the time, that Clemmons had already served 11 years of jail time, the unanimous decision by the bipartisan state pardon board in Clemmons's favor, and the original trial judge's support for clemency. When Clemmons received the 60-year sentence, he already was serving 48 years on five felony convictions and facing up to 95 more years on charges of robbery, theft and possessing a handgun on school property. After his release in 2000 Clemmons was arrested a number of times for multiple offenses including child molestation and aggravated assault, but was released after prosecutors declined to file charges. On November 29, 2009, four police officers were murdered in Lakewood, Washington, and Clemmons was named by witnesses as the only suspect. After a two-day manhunt that spanned several cities in the Puget Sound region, the armed Clemmons was shot and killed by a Seattle Police Department officer in south Seattle after refusing police orders to stop charging the officer.
In 2003, Eugene Fields received a six year prison sentence after his fourth conviction of driving while intoxicated in five years. Gov. Huckabee granted clemency over the objections of the local prosecutor and sheriff, the Arkansas Prosecuting Attorneys Association and Mothers Against Drunk Driving (MADD). A spokeswoman for Mr. Huckabee, Charmaine Yoest, said that Mr. Fields’s political donations [to the Arkansas Republican Party] and connections played no role in his clemency. About two years after Mr. Fields’s sentence was cut to 11 months, he was arrested again for driving while intoxicated as his truck crossed the center line directly into the path of an oncoming police car. 
In comments made March 1, 2011, on The Steve Malzberg Show, Huckabee said of President Barack Obama, "I would love to know more. What I know is troubling enough. And one thing that I do know is his having grown up in Kenya, his view of the Brits, for example, is very different than the average American."  (This is a reference to the Mau Mau Uprising against the colonial rule of Great Britain in 1952).
In comments made March 4, 2011, on the Michael Medved Show, Huckabee spoke about pregnant, unwed actress Natalie Portman saying "...it's unfortunate we glorify and glamorize the idea of out of wedlock children."  Huckabee denies he defamed Portman.
In April, he was criticized for a remark he made, "I almost wish that there would be a simultaneous telecast and all Americans would be forced, at gunpoint, to listen to every David Barton message," in praise of David Barton.
Possible 2012 presidential campaign
In a November 19, 2008, article by the Associated Press, Huckabee addressed the possibility of running for President in 2012. He said, "I'm not ruling anything out for the future, but I'm not making any specific plans".
Amid speculation about a future run for the Presidency, a CNN poll in December 2008 found Huckabee at the top of the list of 2012 GOP contenders, along with former Alaskan Governor Sarah Palin, fellow 2008 Presidential candidate Mitt Romney, and former Speaker of the House Newt Gingrich.
On December 3, 2008, local NBC news station WLWT asked Huckabee about the prospect of running, to which he said, "I'm pretty sure I'll be out there. Whether it's for myself or somebody else I may decide will be a better standard bearer, that remains to be seen." 
A June 2009 CNN/Opinion Research Corporation national poll showed Huckabee as the 2012 presidential co-favorite of the Republican electorate along with Palin and Romney. An October 2009 poll of Republicans by Rasmussen Reports put Huckabee in the lead with 29%, followed by Romney on 24% and Palin on 18%.
In November 2010 CNN projected in a poll that Huckabee would defeat Barack Obama in a hypothetical 2012 contest. In a Rasmussen poll taken January 11–14, 2011, Huckabee was even with Obama: 43% - 43%.
On May 14, 2011, Huckabee announced on his Fox News television show that he would not be a candidate for the GOP presidential nomination in 2012. Despite his high national poll numbers and being seen by many as the front runner, Huckabee declined to run, saying, "All the factors say 'go', but my heart says 'no'."
Weight loss and health advocacy
When elected governor of Arkansas, Huckabee was obese. In 2003, physicians diagnosed him with type 2 diabetes and informed him that he would not live more than 10 years if he did not lose weight. Huckabee acknowledges that he has weighed as much as 300 pounds (135 kg). Prompted by this diagnosis (as well as the subsequent death of former Governor Frank D. White, whose obesity contributed to a fatal heart attack), Huckabee began eating a healthier diet and exercising. He subsequently lost over 110 pounds (50 kg). The New York Times called the weight loss so rapid that "it was as if he simply unzipped a fat suit and stepped out."
Although Huckabee has stated that he never smoked nor drank, he declared himself a "recovering foodaholic". Huckabee has publicly recounted his previous burdens as an obese man: the steps of the Arkansas capitol from the entrance of the building up to the Governor's office were so long and steep that he would be out of breath and exhausted by the time he reached the top of the stairs. He once joked that he would be interviewed by media at the top of the steps, and that he would be too out of breath to respond.
At an August 2007 forum on cancer hosted by Lance Armstrong, Huckabee said he would support a federal smoking ban, but has stated that he believes the issue is best addressed by state and local governments.
Huckabee has completed several marathons: the 2005 Marine Corps Marathon, the 2005 and 2006 Little Rock Marathon and the 2006 New York City Marathon. The 2005 Little Rock Marathon featured an impromptu challenge between Huckabee and Iowa Governor Tom Vilsack. Huckabee completed the marathon in 4:38:31, defeating Vilsack by 50 minutes. He wrote a book chronicling his weight-loss experience, Quit Digging Your Grave with a Knife and Fork. Huckabee was one of 10 recipients of a 2006 AARP Impact Award acknowledging his work as a "health crusader."
In 2009 Huckabee acknowledged that he had gained back a fourth of his weight due to a foot condition that prevented him from running.
Capitol Offense (rock band)
Huckabee's band, Capitol Offense, has played for political events and parties, including entertaining at unofficial inaugural balls in Washington, D.C. in January 2001 and later again 2005, both organized and promoted by the conservative website Free Republic as well as the 2004 GOP Convention.
Huckabee was made the chair of the Southern Governors' Association in 1999 and served in capacity through 2000. He has chaired the Southern Growth Policies Board, the Southern Region Education Board, the Southern Technology Council, the Interstate Oil and Gas Compact Commission, and the Education Commission of the States. He is also a member of the Republican Governors Association and former chairman of the National Governors Association. Huckabee is presently the chairman of conservative PACs called the Vertical Politics Institute and Huck PAC.
In July 2010, Huckabee became a fundraiser on behalf of for-profit Victory College in Memphis Tennessee and was designated Chancellor of the Victory University Foundation, although he did not take up residence in Memphis.
Huckabee has written or co-authored several books:
- Character is the Issue: How People With Integrity Can Revolutionize America (1997), a memoir (inspired by the crisis surrounding the incidents prior to his taking office as governor)
- Kids Who Kill (1998), a book about juvenile violence (inspired by the Jonesboro massacre, which took place during his tenure as governor)
- Living Beyond Your Lifetime (2000), a guide for leaving a personal legacy
- Quit Digging Your Grave with a Knife and Fork (2005), a health and exercise inspirational guide (based on his personal health experience) Publisher: Center Street
- From Hope to Higher Ground: 12 Steps to Restoring America's Greatness (2007) Publisher: Center Street
- "De-Marketing Obesity" in the California Management Review, (with Brian Wansink), 47:4 (Summer 2005), 6-18.
- Huckabee also wrote the foreword to My Story Your Story His Story (2006) by Larry Toller
- Character Makes a Difference: Where I'm From, Where I've Been, and What I Believe, by Mike Huckabee (2007)
- Do the Right Thing: Inside the Movement That's Bringing Common Sense Back to America, by Mike Huckabee (2008)
- A Simple Christmas: Twelve Stories that Celebrate the True Holiday Spirit, by Mike Huckabee (2009)
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- ^ "What Iowa's Straw Poll Tells the GOP" Time Online, August 11, 2007
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- ^ url=http://topics.nytimes.com/top/reference/timestopics/people/h/mike_huckabee/
- ^ Callahan, Jody Former Arkansas Governor Huckabee to be a fundraiser for Victory University. Memphis Commercial Appeal. July 12, 2010
- Mike Huckabee official website
- Huckabee official Fox News talkshow website
- Mike Huckabee 2012 Grassroots Forum
- Biography at the National Governors Association
- Biography at WhoRunsGov.com at The Washington Post
- Issue positions and quotes at On the Issues
- Campaign contributions at FollowTheMoney.org
- Appearances on C-SPAN programs
- Appearances on Charlie Rose programs
- Appearances at the Internet Movie Database
- Collected news and commentary at The New York Times
- Collected news and commentary at The Guardian
- Works by or about Mike Huckabee in libraries (WorldCat catalog)
- Profile at Notable Names Database
- Campaign contributions at OpenSecrets.org
- Profile in The Encyclopedia of Arkansas History & Culture
- Mike Huckabee at the Open Directory Project
- Mike Huckabee Wiki, an external wiki
Party political offices Preceded by
Republican nominee for U.S. Senator from Arkansas
Republican nominee for Lieutenant Governor of Arkansas
Winthrop Paul Rockefeller
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