Former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee moved one step closer to a potential presidential bid on Friday, saying he will make his decision known on May 5 whether he will seek the Republican nomination in 2016.
“I will announce on May the fifth in my hometown of Hope, Arkansas, what my plans are going to be,” Huckabee told “Special Report” host Bret Baier in an appearance on Fox News, where he used to be a paid host before leaving the network earlier this year in order to explore his campaign options.
“People will know then for sure whether Mike Huckabee is in the race or not,” he told Baier. “I think it’ll be worth tuning in for.”
Huckabee, a former Baptist minister, capitalized on evangelical support to win Iowa’s first-in-the-nation caucuses in 2008 over rivals John McCain and Mitt Romney. Although he went on to lose the party’s nomination, the strict social conservative has maintained a sizable base of support through his Fox News show, “Huckabee,” and his recently-released book, “Gods, Guns, Grits and Gravy.”
“We know that Iowa is going to be an important part of that path,” Huckabee said Friday when asked whether recapturing the state would be key to securing the Republican nomination. “There’s going to be an expectation that I would do well there.”
“But clearly, coming out of Iowa with momentum is important,” he added. “We need to do well in South Carolina. We need to show that we at least are competing in New Hampshire.”
An NBC News/Wall Street Journal poll last month found that 52% of Republican primary voters could see themselves supporting Huckabee in 2016. Only Florida Sen. Marco Rubio and Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker ranked above him.