Former Arkansas Governor Mike Huckabee launched his 2016 presidential bid on Tuesday in Hope, Arkansas, the hometown he shares with former President Bill Clinton. Huckabee kicked off his campaign by appealing to social conservatives, exclaiming that the United States has fallen off the moral path.
The Hill reports:
"“We’ve lost our way morally,” Huckabee told a cheering hometown crowd during his speech in Hope, Ark. “We’ve witnessed the slaughter of over 55 million babies in the name of choice and we’re now threatening the foundation of religious liberty by criminalizing Christianity and demanding we abandon Biblical principles in natural marriage,” the former Baptist minister said." - The Hill, May 5, 2015
One of Huckabee's biggest issues in 2008 was that he was not able to secure enough voters outside the "evangelical right." Yet these are the voters he can win over best, even as he faces competition for this voting bloc from candidates like U.S. Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Texas).
Ahead of his announcement, Huckabee made headlines for signing a Pledge in Solidarity to Defend Marriage, in which he and fellow signers said they "will not obey" the Supreme Court if they rule that the Fourteenth Amendment protects a gay couple's right to get married. He further told a crowd of Latino evangelicals that the Supreme Court "cannot overrule God."
"When it comes to prayer, when it comes to life, and when it comes to the sanctity of marriage, the court cannot change what God has created," he said.
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Unlike former Hewlett-Packard CEO Carly Fiorina and Ben Carson, Huckabee's campaign for the GOP nomination cannot be considered a long shot. He won the Iowa Caucus in 2008 and could do so again in 2016. He already has experience running in a presidential election and has been building his profile among conservatives since his first presidential campaign. It would be foolish to say that his presence in the race will be inconsequential, but he needs to expand his appeal beyond evangelicals.