Former Governor Mike Huckabee is now the sixth Republican to announce that he is running for president in his hometown of Hope, Arkansas. One of the major themes of his speech was religion, focused on his humble beginnings, Huckabee vowed to end “stagnant wages,” protect Medicare and defeat radical Islamic terrorism.
Huckabee, who is embarking on his second presidential run, delivering an economy- and security-centered message that he hopes will appeal to everyday Americans and distinguish him from the already-crowded Republican field.
Huckabee’s supporters say his religion is a big reason why they want to see him in the White House.
“I think Christians have been put down a lot lately, and I think people will admire that he stands for what he believes in and doesn’t apologize for being a Christian,” said Doris Beeson-Faulkner who made the trip to Hope from Camden.
Huckabee, a former Baptist minister, ran for president in 2008, winning eight states including the first-in-the-nation Iowa caucuses before running out of money and exiting the race.
The 59-year-old Huckabee has a strong following among the party’s evangelical Christian base but this time will face stiff competition for that vote from such primary candidates as Dr. Ben Carson and Senator Ted Cruz, of Texas.
He frequently repeated the phrase, “Hope to higher ground,” which appears to be a slogan of sorts for his 2016 campaign.
“I plan to give to him. I realize you can’t win an election without people getting in there and helping you and giving money to you,” said Beeson-Faulkner, a donation envelope in her hand.
However, even some Huckabee supporters fear his outspoken religious beliefs will not play well on a nationwide campaign.
Huckabee next heads to New York for a fundraiser and then on to Iowa and South Carolina, two early primary states where he faired well the last time he ran. The fundraising and campaign schedule begins as Huckabee hopes to be the second person to leave from Hope to higher office.