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Huckabee banking 2012 hopes on Vander Plaats’ 2010 success
Mike Huckabee’s decision to openly campaign for likely GOP gubernatorial hopeful Bob Vander Plaats tonight in Spirit Lake has some wondering if it means his presidential aspirations are over.
Associated Press political reporter Mike Glover points out that getting involved in the Republican primary could pose a risk to any plans Huckabee has to run for president in 2012. Drake University political science professor Dennis Goldford told Glover that if Huckabee can help Vander Plaats get the nomination and win the election, “then he’s nicely positioned with a supportive governor who owes him a favor.”
But if Vander Plaats is defeated in the Republican primary, Democratic strategist Mark Daley said Huckabee runs the risk of alienating other candidates and their supporters, a sentiment shared by GOP activists:
Veteran GOP strategist Bob Haus said Huckabee could be signaling he may not run for president because candidates need broad support to win the caucuses.
“He’s either very confident about Vander Plaats or he’s not running for president,” Haus said.
The endorsement of Vander Plaats should not come as a surprise, though. The Sioux City businessman served as state chair for Huckabee’s successful caucus campaign, and he recently appeared on Huckabee’s Fox News program to discuss same-sex marriage. In his numerous trips to Iowa since the caucuses, Huckabee has repeatedly called Vander Plaats “the next governor of Iowa.”
In addition to the Vander Plaats event, Huckabee will serve as the keynote speaker of the Iowa Association of Business and Industry’s annual convention this afternoon in Okiboji.