Huckabee Enters The Race, Will Face Tough Competition

On Tuesday, in his hometown of Hope, Arkansas, Republican Mike Huckabee entered the race to win his party's 2016 nomination. While the religious right may be the largest voting bloc in the Republican party, Huckabee may have a more difficult time winning the Iowa caucus than he did in 2008. As the sixth Republican candidate to enter the presidential race, he is up against candidates such as Scott Walker, an evangelical Christian and the son of a pastor. A former Southern Baptist minister, Huckabee won the Iowa caucuses and five state primaries in 2008, probably due to the fact that evangelical Christians had some reservations about Mitt Romney's past support for abortion rights. To date, he averages around 8 percent in polls of evangelical Christians--about the same as Ted Cruz and Rand Paul. In addition, Huckabee is similar to Cruz and Paul with regard to the fact that all of them have championed the religious right, the Tea Party, and libertarians.

As a result, the three became a favorite of the far right. Evangelicals represent around 60 percent of Iowa caucus-goers. This means that if Ted Cruz or Scott Walker hopes to win Iowa, they need to carry a large portion of the evangelical vote. In 2008, Romney failed to take Iowa because he could not get the support of evangelical Christians. On the other hand, as the former host of a popular TV show on Fox news, Mr. Huckabee still has the potential to win. He still has strong ratings, and he did win Iowa once before. Although, even if he wins Iowa, he may not win the nomination because it gets tougher for him outside the south. Furthermore, fiscal conservatives were quite skeptical of Huckabee who raised taxes and increased spending while he was governor. Pat Toomey, the former head of the Club for Growth and a current senator from Pennsylvania, said, “Mike Huckabee is no conservative.” Although Huckabee is popular with a large bloc of the Republican party, he may have a tough time winning over the entire party.

Photo: U.S. Election Atlas

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