Former Arkansas governor and Baptist pastor Mike Huckabee ended his Fox News TV show Jan. 3 in view of a possible run for the White House in 2016.
Huckabee finished second in 2008 to Sen. John McCain for the Republican nomination to face then-Sen. Barack Obama.
He is a former pastor of Southern Baptist churches in Pine Bluff and Texarkana, Ark., and a former president of the Arkansas Baptist State Convention; a graduate of Ouachita Baptist University in Arkadelphia; and a former student at Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary in Texas.
"As much as I have loved doing the show, I cannot bring myself to rule out another presidential run," Huckabee, 59, said in a news release prior to his Jan.3 “Huckabee” airing. Huckabee has hosted the weekend show for the past six and a half years.
Huckabee delved into politics, faith and family values in the hour-long talk show, which was taped in New York for airing on Saturday and Sunday evenings.
National media quickly reported on Huckabee’s decision; a CNN headline stated, “Huckabee gets serious about a second presidential run.”
Huckabee, in the news release, said the cable TV show had been “the ride of a lifetime…. But I also realize that God hasn't put me on earth just to have a good time or to make a good living, but rather has put me on earth to try to make a good life.”
He acknowledged "a great deal of speculation” about his intentions for 2016. “If I were willing to absolutely rule that out, I could keep doing this show,” he said. “But I can't make such a declaration.”
Huckabee said he will make a decision in late spring, “but the continued chatter has put Fox News into a position that is not fair to them nor is it possible for me to openly determine political and financial support to justify a race. The honorable thing to do at this point is to end my tenure here at Fox.”
The RealClearPolitics.com website, in an analysis of various polls for the Iowa caucuses in February 2016, placed Huckabee in the lead with an average of 15.7 percent among respondents from July through October, followed by Wisconsin Rep. Paul Ryan, the GOP vice presidential nominee in 2012, at 9.5 percent; Kentucky Sen. Rand Paul, 8.5 percent; former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush, 8.3 percent; New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie, 8.0 percent; former Pennsylvania Sen. Rick Santorum, 6.0 percent; former Texas Gov. Rick Perry, 5.8 percent; Texas Sen. Ted Cruz, 5.8 percent; and Florida Sen. Marco Rubio, 5.5 percent.
Huckabee served as Arkansas governor from 1996-2007 and as lieutenant governor from 1993-96. As a pastor, he led Beech Street Baptist Church in Texarkana from 1986-92 and Immanuel Baptist Church in Pine Bluff from 1980-86. He was president of the Arkansas Baptist State Convention from 1989-91.
(EDITOR’S NOTE – Art Toalston is editor of Baptist Press.)