Mike Huckabee strongly denies reports and speculation that he has decided not to run for president in 2012. In an email to Newsmax and pollster Scott Rasmussen, the former Arkansas governor and potential 2012 White House candidate heatedly dismissed conjecture that his exiting the race for the Republican nomination could open the door for other candidates, including a dark horse, to emerge.
Newsmax published a story on Thursday disclosing that Huckabee’s camp was seeking to refute a report from the Process Story blog that he was dropping out and has given his South Carolina supporters permission to seek work elsewhere.
The story quoted Hogan Gidley, a spokesman for Huckabee’s political action committee HuckPAC, who denied that report. He said Huckabee has “truthfully and repeatedly stated that he is seriously considering a run for president but he won’t make that decision until this summer – and that has not changed.”
The Newsmax article also quoted pollster Scott Rasmussen, president of Rasmussen Reports, speculating on what effect Huckabee’s withdrawal could have on other leading GOP contenders.
In Huckabee’s email sent to Newsmax CEO Christopher Ruddy and Rasmussen, Huckabee called the blogger’s report a “thin air lie.”
He complained that “major media all over” picked up the story without first checking its veracity.
Huckabee stated: “I wanted you to know that what I’ve been saying is still the truth – I will decide and announce this summer.”
He did not take exception to Rasmussen’s analysis, noting that the pollster “didn’t allege to know whether I will run or not.”
Huckabee, who has a talk show on the Fox News Channel, added: “It’s been a crazy week, between that and the nutty Howard Kurtz story that ‘Fox was pressuring me to make a decision’ [about running]. That too is total horse hooey. There has been no pressure and I’ve met to discuss every aspect of my process in the decision and they are fine with it.”
Nevertheless, informed sources at Fox News still say they find it difficult to believe that if Huckabee was even considering a serious bid at this point, he would still be hosting his show on Fox.
They noted that Fox has pulled the plug on potential presidential candidates Rick Santorum and Newt Gingrich as Fox commentators, and keeping Huckabee’s show alive indicates he is likely not running.
Federal Communications Commission guidelines indicate that a network should hosts go once they officially declare their candidacy for federal office. Otherwise, their air time could be construed as free advertising. Arguably, it also could be ruled a violation of the $2,500 individual limit on campaign contributions made directly to a candidate or their campaign committee.