‘19 Kids’ stars dump Santorum for Huckabee

Updated

“19 Kids and Counting” stars Jim Bob and Michelle Duggar have dumped former Pennsylvania Sen. Rick Santorum, who is considering a White House run, for another Republican presidential contender certain to draw widespread support from conservative Christian primary voters: former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee.

“Governor Huckabee is a man of faith who is very wise, and will help get our nation back on track,” reads a message from Michelle Duggar on the governor’s campaign website. A separate message from Jim Bob states: “America needs Governor Huckabee for president! Governor Huckabee has the communication skills of Ronald Reagan, and a common sense business approach to government.”

Related: How well do you know Mike Huckabee?

The Duggars, who are deeply religious, are also from Arkansas and supported Huckabee during his 2008 presidential bid – back when they were parents to only 17 kids. They even “begged” Huckabee to run again in 2012, but the governor refused. That left the famous family to throw their weight behind Santorum, the candidate who shared their “values” and had a “proven track record to do what’s right,” as Jim Bob Duggar explained to Mother Jones in 2012.

This year, however, the Duggars won’t be dragging their 19 kids to Iowa to campaign for their second choice candidate. Huckabee, a former Baptist pastor, officially launched his 2016 bid on Tuesday, declaring that “we’ve lost our way morally” when it comes to reproductive rights and same-sex marriage.

Santorum, whose spokesperson did not immediately return a request for comment, is expected to enter the already-competitive 2016 race later this year. So far, six Republicans have officially announced their candidacies – including Sens. Ted Cruz of Texas, Rand Paul of Kentucky, Marco Rubio of Florida, former Hewlett Packard CEO Carly Fiorina, retired neurosurgeon Dr. Ben Carson, and Huckabee. As the Duggars’ endorsement flip shows, Santorum may have a more difficult time this year winning over the evangelical Christian portion of the GOP, which in 2012 helped the senator come in second place to Mitt Romney in the Republican primaries.

Mike Huckabee and Rick Santorum

'19 Kids' stars dump Santorum for Huckabee

Updated