A couple of great articles have come out in the last day or so, covering Huckabee's exit from the presidential race. One is from Joy Lin of CBS News:
Until the very end of his campaign, Mike Huckabee defied convention. While other presidential candidates would have taken half a day to gear up for a concession speech – thanking supporters in the meantime and leaking the bad news to reporters so everyone would make the official goodbye -- Huckabee decided to take care of business quickly.Read the whole thing...
At 7:59 p.m., a close senior aide signaled Huckabee was “getting close but not quite” at the point of concession. By 9 p.m., the campaign confirmed Huckabee would drop out that night. Fifteen minutes later, Huckabee took the stage at the Texas watch party to declare it was all over. He never waited for the D.C. political reporters to show up.
“We started this effort with very little recognition and virtually no resources,” Huckabee said in his speech, his wife Janet at his side. “We ended with slightly more recognition and very few resources.” His audience laughed. “But what a journey. What a journey, a journey of a lifetime. It is not lost on me where I started.”
Where he started was at the back of the pack. Little-known Mike Huckabee, with his unconventional name, unconventional background, and expressive caterpillar eyebrows faced incredible odds going into the campaign cycle – in late fall, reporters liked to trade stories about Huckabee sightings at the baggage carousel or in the lobby of a three star hotel. Although he had served as governor for 10 ½ years, Huckabee came from a poor state with no personal wealth and a limited pool of resources. Only thirty staffers hired to run a national presidential campaign, Huckabee marveled in his concession speech, “No one has ever gotten this far with such limited resources.”
Another good one comes from US News & World Report:
Seven months ago, a stunned and uncharacteristically speechless Mike Huckabee, crushed by ecstatic supporters, stumbled out of an Iowa arena and into his improbably durable presidential run.Read the whole thing...
Inside the Hilton Coliseum in Ames, the former Arkansas governor had just finished a surprising second to Mitt Romney in the state GOP's presidential straw poll. Vastly outspent and hopelessly outmanned at the massive event, he parlayed his "victory" (Sen. John McCain and Rudy Giuliani didn't compete), his appeal to Christian conservatives, and his knack for funny one-liners into national exposure. His underdog status became his rallying cry.
And that stifling summer day, during which Huckabee jammed with his band "Capitol Offense" and served up watermelon from his hometown of Hope, Ark., set the tone for a perpetually broke campaign that would stun the Republican establishment. In early January, Huckabee easily won Iowa's first-in-the nation presidential caucuses, upending Romney's win-early strategy. He then took seven more contests before his quixotic journey came to an end last night in Texas, when Sen. John McCain, who fought his own epic battle back from the brink, hit the magic delegate number needed to secure the Republican nomination.
"I fought the good fight," Huckabee told supporters, quoting the writings of the Apostle Paul. "I've finished the race, and I've kept the faith."
In the process, the former Baptist minister not only promoted the issues of Republican evangelicals but helped turn a slew of well-funded sure things into also-rans. Former Massachusetts Governor Romney, who spent more than $105 million (including a good chunk of his own fortune), dropped out last month. Giuliani, despite his fame as New York City's mayor during 9/11 and a $63.9 million effort, failed to yield a single delegate. And Fred Thompson, the actor and former senator who was hailed as a potential conservative savior, raised $23.6 million for his campaign that died before it started.
Huckabee, who raised a total of $12.9 million—including $3.9 million last month, had some national party leaders worried that his continued presence in the race would make it more difficult for McCain, who many hard-right conservatives find unpalatable, to unify fractured Republicans. But Huckabee found that attitude downright irritating—it's "pathetic," he told U.S. News, that the party couldn't handle a little competition "in the semifinals."
This Washington Post article contains some interesting news:
Advisers to Mike Huckabee spent yesterday starting to build a conservative coalition that could propel a future run for the White House, hoping to capitalize on the popularity he gained during his unlikely presidential bid.
Using as a model Ronald Reagan's time between his failed run in 1976 and his success in 1980, the former Arkansas governor plans to help Sen. John McCain (Ariz.) and Republican congressional candidates win over conservative Christians in the fall, while looking for a national radio show or other forum that he can use to expand his influence within the party.
And though Huckabee has said that he doubts McCain would offer him the vice presidential slot on the Republican ticket, he has not denied interest in the job. The head of his campaign's faith-and-values coalition, conservative radio talk show host Janet Folger, said she is broadcasting the phone number of McCain's campaign office so callers can demand that Huckabee be placed on the ticket. Folger said McCain "needs" to pick Huckabee to ensure that conservative Christians will turn out in November.
Huckabee spent yesterday thanking his supporters, as well as taking a congratulatory call for his performance from President Bush, who officially endorsed McCain yesterday.
"We want to stay in touch and start now building a platform to continue addressing issues that brought us together in the first place," Huckabee said in an e-mail to supporters yesterday. "We will keep our website up and as we transition, will want to create a way to keep in touch and continue the battle for our families, our freedom, and our future."