While Mike Huckabee keeps everyone waiting for his presidential announcement on Saturday night, his campaign manager from 2008 is already writing him off.
Ed Rollins, a veteran campaign consultant who continues to be a top political adviser to Huckabee, said he had spent two months laying a foundation for the former Arkansas governor’s presidential campaign, assembling a team of operatives and donors who he said were poised to help Huckabee raise $50 million for the Republican primary.
But that’s set to go up in smoke tomorrow night, Rollins said, when he expects the ex-governor will announce he’s not running for president. He can’t say for sure, however, because Huckabee has yet to call him to let him know what he’s planning to say.
“I think when I get [the] call first thing in the morning that there’s a big announcement tomorrow, I was shocked,” the GOP strategist told National Journal.
When the two men last talked about a week ago, Rollins said he noticed “hesitancy” on Huckabee’s part that he hasn’t seen before, even if it was always uncertain he would run for president. And the political adviser was clearly irked that he didn’t receive any kind of head’s up from his candidate.
“It would have been [a] courteous thing to have done—and he didn’t do it,” said Rollins. “I still love him, I still would do it again, but obviously I don’t have to do it now.”
The comments are one more sign that Hucakbee isn’t running. The venue he’s chosen to make the decision itself is also an indication he won’t be making a bid: if he announces his run on his Fox News TV show, he could land himself and the television network in hot legal water.
Huckabee’s decision not to enter the race would open up Iowa, where the former governor won in 2008 and performs well with social conservatives. It also makes him a potential kingmaker in a wide-open GOP field.
Rollins said he could see Huckabee endorsing just about any other candidate in the field, with one notable exception.
“I think one candidate he wouldn’t endorse is [Mitt] Romney,” he said.
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