February 13, 2008


Where Huckabee Goes from Here: He says he’s in until it’s over. Probably not. (Byron York, 2/13/08, National Review)

The main reasons are that Huckabee can afford to keep going, he thinks he can do well in Texas, and that, as the sole recipient of votes from conservatives unhappy with McCain, his support has actually increased.

Mitt Romney pulled out of the race because did not see the purpose in keeping his extremely expensive campaign going in the face of terrible odds; it would have been impossible to imagine a greatly scaled-down Romney operation, going into primaries on a shoestring. Huckabee, on the other hand, has always operated on a shoestring. In fact, as McCain’s last major opponent, he is positively living large, compared to the campaign’s earliest days. Part of that is because his campaign has displayed a genius for stretching a dollar. Huckabee won Georgia even though he couldn’t afford to purchase TV ads in Atlanta; instead, he bought time in places like Macon. He won Alabama without spending much in Birmingham, opting instead for the less expensive Huntsville. And the campaign just loved twofers. “If we could find a media market that covered two states, we were all over it,” the Huckabee aide told me. “Chattanooga, Fort Smith, Joplin – it’s called bang for your buck.”

There are plenty of small markets in Texas, too, and Huckabee will undoubtedly advertise in them. But the state’s two top markets, Dallas and Houston, reach about half of the Republican primary electorate and are very expensive. Normally, they would be beyond Huckabee’s budget, but the campaign aide told me that “we’ve squirreled away a good amount of money.” When I asked whether Texas would be the place to spend it, he answered yes, leaving the impression that such a campaign would be Huckabee’s last stand. [...]

Huckabee got a lot of applause Saturday when, addressing the question of his delegate gap, he said he didn’t major in math, he majored in miracles. But he doesn’t need a math degree to face up to those numbers. And when the figures make their way into the general conversation in Republican political circles, the pressure on Huckabee to withdraw will increase.

Whenever he goes, Huckabee will leave with a stature far higher than when he began the race. He is now a national figure in GOP politics, widely admired as the best natural campaigner in the 2008 field. Good, and perhaps even greater, things await. And it is unlikely that Huckabee wants to do anything in the last days of his campaign to diminish all the gains he has made.

With his speaking ability, dexterity with the media, amicable relationship with the nominee and deep ties to the Evangelical community, the Huck is the natural RNC chairman. Not only would he help the Party but he'd help himself. Recall that both Bob Dole and George HW Bush held the job before winning the nomination. It's a networking bonanza.

Posted by Orrin Judd at February 13, 2008 7:18 AM
Comments for this post are closed.