This story was updated at 12:00 p.m.
Former Arkansas governor Mike Huckabee announced Tuesday that he will make a second bid for the Republican nomination.
"Folks, it is a long way from a little brick red house on 2nd street in Hope, Arkansas to the White House. But here in this small town called Hope I was raised to believe that where a person's starting didn't mean that's where he had to stop," he told a cheering crowd at a rally in his hometown of Hope, Arkansas."...So it seems perfectly fitting that it would be here that I announce that I am a candidate for president of the United States of America."
The challenges are formidable for the man who won the 2008 Iowa caucuses. In that earlier race, Huckabee, 59, a former Baptist preacher, struggled to expand his reach beyond evangelical voters and ran out of money in subsequent contests.
Huckabee is a gifted communicator. Polls have consistently shown that he has relatively high name recognition and popularity among Republicans. Early this year, he quit his television show on Fox News so that he could more deeply explore the possibility of another run.
This time, his challenge will be finding a way to break through in a field that is likely to include a dozen or more credible, well-financed contenders. Among them are relatively fresh faces, such as Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Tex.), who are challenging him for the financial and political support of conservative Christians.
On the stump, he has pointed to his Arkansas history as evidence that he has what it takes to run against Hillary Rodham Clinton, the expected Democratic nominee.
Indeed, Huckabee's career has been intertwined with that of the Clinton family for more than two decades.
Huckabee comes from Hope, Ark., the same town where Bill Clinton was born. Early in his career, he was a Baptist minister and broadcaster. He made his first bid for office in 1992, making an unsuccessful run as the GOP nominee to unseat Democratic Sen. Dale Bumpers.
That same election, however, saw Arkansas politics upended.
The sitting governor, Bill Clinton, was elected president. His move to Washington elevated the state's lieutenant governor, Jim Guy Tucker, to the top spot, and opened up the number-two job, which Huckabee won in a 1993 special election. That made Huckabee an instant celebrity among Republicans, who hadn't won a statewide office in Arkansas in 13 years.
Three years later, Tucker was indicted on charges related to the Whitewater investigation, stemming from a failed Arkansas land deal in which the Clintons had invested. Upon Tucker's resignation, Huckabee became governor.
During his decade as Arkansas governor, Huckabee racked up an impressive record getting legislation through an overwhelmingly Democratic legislature. Among his achievements were expanding health coverage for children and revamping the state's education system. In 2005, Time Magazine named him one of the five most effective governors in the country, and Governing magazine dubbed him one of its "public officials of the year."
The overweight Arkansas governor also gained national attention when he lost 110 pounds, after being diagnosed with diabetes in 2002.
Huckabee collected some formidable enemies, including such conservative organizations as the Club for Growth, which deemed his gubernatorial record too liberal.
Jose A. DelReal contributed to this story.