Elisabeth Meinecke

Former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee shares insight into the GOP race for the White House, what the current candidates are going through and what campaign practices contribute to primary longevity.

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From Townhall Magazine's EXCLUSIVE February "Eye on the Primary" article by Dwayne Horner:

In 2008, former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee was in the thick of the fight for the Republican nomination for president. Despite polling in the single digits nationwide, he rocketed to the top of the race with a stunning win at the Iowa caucuses.

When asked by Townhall Magazine this election cycle what advice he would give the current crop of candidates, Huckabee said simply, “View this thing as a marathon and not a sprint.”

The 2012 race has seen candidates go on meteoric rises only to fall flat even faster.

“I’ve seen candidates in this cycle—you saw it with [former Minnesota Gov.] Tim Pawlenty, who went out and came up with a big budget campaign … by the time of the Iowa straw poll he was out of gas. He was out of money, and because he wasn’t doing as well as the money would have indicated, he had to shut it down,” Huckabee said. “He was in a position where he either had to quit or go into deep, deep debt to continue because he built too big of an infrastructure that was unaffordable.” ...

Huckabee credits his campaign manager, Chip Saltsman, for getting the most out of what little amounts of money the campaign [for the 2008 nomination] could raise early on.

“I told [Chip] I am not a wealthy man, I don’t have any cash reserves. It’s not like I can personally finance or go into debt for the campaign, so if it came to that, we would have to cut if off. As a result, I think that’s what kept us going—we didn’t spend money we didn’t have or borrow money we couldn’t pay back,” Huckabee said. “I think one of the benefits of not having the luxury of having a bunch of consultants telling me how to spend the money, what little we did have we spent getting me to places. We ran an extraordinarily lean operation and as a result were able to last longer than most of my opponents. As the others were dropping out, I was still able to go on. Even Mitt Romney didn’t have the money to go on, and [he] quit after Super Tuesday.”

Read more of Dwayne Horner's interview with Gov. Mike Huckabee in the February issue of Townhall Magazine, including:

--his response on whether he'll run again for president or consider a vice presidential nomination
--what Huckabee thinks is even more essential than money to running a productive primary campaign

Order Townhall Magazine today to read the full report in the February issue.


Elisabeth Meinecke

Elisabeth Meinecke is TOWNHALL MAGAZINE Managing Editor. Follow her on Twitter @lismeinecke.