LITTLE ROCK, Ark. — Add another name to the list of potential GOP presidential contenders for 2016. Former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee — the winner of the 2008 Iowa caucuses, who took a pass on the 2012 presidential race — says he might be willing to give it another try.
In an interview Thursday night, Huckabee said he is receiving encouragement to run “from places where I never got it before.”
That includes “business, people some would maybe call the establishment,” he added. Both groups were adversaries in his 2008 bid, which caught fire in Iowa, but sputtered in later contests where he lacked money and organization.
Huckabee was in Little Rock to give a keynote address to a dinner sponsored by the American Renewal Project, which is led by Christian activist David Lane and encourages evangelical pastors to become more involved in political action.
About 600 pastors and their spouses attended the event. Afterward, Huckabee held a private meeting with a group that had come from Iowa and South Carolina, both states where there are early presidential contests.
Although Huckabee enjoys strong support among conservative Christians, he sounded a much broader message.
What is driving him, he said, is “a sense in which I really believe the key to a Republican victory is an ability to communicate a message that speaks across a broader spectrum. One of our failures is the ability to speak to African-Americans, to speak to Hispanics, to speak to working class people — more than just speaking to the board room, speaking to the people who go in and clean up after the meeting.”
Since 2008, Huckabee has devoted most of his efforts to radio, television and speeches. He has been largely overlooked in the early speculation about 2016.
But he produced a private poll, which he said was commissioned by supporters who are urging him to run again, which indicated he has the potential to make a strong showing in both Iowa and South Carolina.