WASHINGTON (BP)--Former Arkansas Gov. and Southern Baptist pastor Mike Huckabee said May 16 he would not seek the Republican nomination for president in 2012, disappointing his followers and putting him alongside several big names who have declined to run.
Mississippi Gov. Haley Barbour said in April he is not running, and on Monday Donald Trump also said he would not seek the nomination.
Huckabee, who finished second in the race for the Republican nomination in 2008 and who has led some GOP preference polls, made the announcement on his FoxNews program, saying his faith played a major role in his decision.
"Only when I was alone, in quiet and reflective moments did I have not only clarity, but an inexplicable inner peace -- a peace that exceeds human understanding," Huckabee said. "All the factors say 'go,' but my heart says 'no.' And that is the decision I have made and in it have finally found resolution.... I know that under the best of circumstances, being president is a job that takes one to the limit of his or her human capacity. For me, to do it apart from an inner confidence that I was undertaking it with God's full blessing is unthinkable. I can't know or predict the future, but I know for now my answer is clear and firm."
His family, he said, supported a run for the presidency. He noted that he led or was near the top of polls despite the fact he "wasn't actively establishing a campaign organization or seeking financial support to run again."
"When people asked me what it would take for me to run, I would tell them the same thing -- pray for me to have clarity in the decision," Huckabee said. "I don't expect everyone to understand this, but I'm a believer and follower of Jesus Christ. That relationship is far more important to me than any political office. For me, the decision is ultimately not a political one, a financial one, or even a practical one. It's a spiritual one."
Huckabee also disagreed with those who said he was a candidate with limited reach.
"Concerns that I had about raising the necessary funds to be competitive or being able to win in states outside the South were answered when signs of strong financial support materialized and when polls showed me winning in states like Pennsylvania, Maine and even New Jersey," he said. "That kind of shattered the notion that I was only a regional candidate or only supported by social conservatives."
Compiled by Michael Foust, associate editor of Baptist Press. Read Huckabee's full statement at http://bit.ly/jeXHYO
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