Well, in an interesting move that I’m still trying to figure out, former Governor and Presidential candidate Mike Huckabee (R-AR) has endorsed Attorney General Mike Cox for Governor. Here’s a copy of the press release that I received today. I’ll give my analysis after the press release:
Mike Huckabee Endorses Mike Cox in 2010 Race for Governor
Huckabee: “Mike Cox best described as Michigan’s Pro-Life, Pro-gun conservative candidate for Governor”
LIVONIA, MI— One of America’s most respected conservative leaders, former Presidential candidate Mike Huckabee today formally endorsed Mike Cox in the 2010 race for Governor.
“Mike Cox is best described as Michigan’s Pro-Life, Pro-gun conservative candidate for Governor,” said Huckabee. “Mike is an innovative, strong leader who is not afraid to take a stand on an important issue. He is opposed to the runaway tax and spend policies we are seeing at the federal and state levels.”
Cox’s message of less spending, lower taxes and reformed government has set him apart in Michigan’s race for Governor. Cox recently drew a crowd of 1,200 families, activists and community leaders to a Rally for Michigan’s Future in Oakland County and hundreds more last weekend to the Grand Opening of his campaign headquarters in Livonia.
“Mike Huckabee is one of our nation’s most respected leaders,” said Cox. “Mike Huckabee continues to fight for more liberty and less government. I am proud to have his support and am honored he is standing beside me as we fight to bring jobs back to Michigan.”
Cox announced Huckabee’s endorsement first today via social networking websites like Facebook, Twitter, U-Stream and conservative bloggers across Michigan.
Huckabee has been called an early frontrunner for the 2012 Republican Presidential nomination scoring well in many polls including last November’s Gallup-USA Today poll. Mike Huckabee polled ahead of President Obama as recently as January 2010.
“Mike Cox has also fought hard to protect Second Amendment rights in Michigan,” Huckabee continued. “I am proud to endorse Mike Cox for Governor of Michigan.”
Cox is the only candidate for Governor to release a comprehensive 92 point plan to put Michigan back to work, including proposals to cut billions of dollars out of the state budget, cut taxes on job providers and families by $2 billion, make government more transparent, reform education, and revitalize our cities. The plan is available at www.mikecox2010.com. The Mike Cox 2010 Campaign also recently announced that it raised $1.8 million in 2009 – with roughly $1.5 million cash on hand. The funds came from over 2,500 individual donors – with roughly 1,000 of the contributors donating less than $100.
For more information on Mike Cox’s campaign for Governor, please visit www.mikecox2010.com or call the campaign office today at 734-525-5035.
About Gov. Mike Huckabee: Prior to his 2008 presidential campaign, Huckabee served as the 44th Governor of Arkansas from 1996-2007 and as the state’s lieutenant governor from 1993-1996. As a young adult, he served as a pastor and denominational leader. He became the youngest president ever of the Arkansas Baptist State Convention, the largest denomination in Arkansas. Huckabee’s efforts to improve his own health have received national attention. He is the author of 6 books, the most recent being “Do the Right Thing,” which spent its first 7 weeks of release in the top ten of the New York Times Bestseller list. He is currently the host of the top rated weekend hit “HUCKABEE” on the Fox News Channel, and is heard three times daily across the nation on the “Huckabee Report.” Huckabee and his wife, Janet, live in North Little Rock, Arkansas. They have three grown children: John Mark, David and Sarah.
Alright, so my analysis… this honestly confused me when I saw it. I’ve been wondering for the past few hours why a Presidential candidate would jump into the gubernatorial race here in Michigan.
One thing is for sure, this is by far the biggest endorsement that I can think of for any of the current gubernatorial candidates. The announcement definitely gives Cox more momentum than he already had (which is quite a bit – he’s been battling Congressman Pete Hoekstra, with both of them leading the polls at one time or another). But will it help him in the long run?
In the 2008 Presidential Primaries, Huckabee got 16.08% of the vote in Michigan, with Romney winning with 38.92%, and McCain coming in second with 29.68%. Huckabee did worst in Cox’s area of the state, but better in central and western Michigan, so that might help Cox a little bit, by diversifying his support. So, I’d say that the best endorsement to get would’ve been Romney’s but Huckabee is still a major player in the conservative movement, and as of now, polling well for 2012.
Now, another thing that I thought about was Huckabee’s stances on law and order issues. One of the major problems I’ve always had with Huckabee (don’t get me wrong – I like the guy) has been his stances on law and order issues as governor. He issued a lot of pardons and commutations as governor of Arkansas (most notably, the recent scandal with Maurice Clemons who shot and killed 4 police officers in 2009). Being an Attorney General, I’m not sure if Huckabee’s endorsement is the best thing for Mike Cox’s law and order record, but I may be reading into this more than I should.
Huckabee’s endorsement will help Cox with social conservatives, a group that may be hesitant to vote for him because of his affair back in 2005, but I think most people have (rightfully) moved on from that issue. But the pro-life movement in Michigan is very strong, and Huckabee’s endorsement will go a long way for Cox when it comes to social issues. Then again, with the current emphasis on the economy, social issues probably won’t be the deciding factor in who voters do vote for (although in the Republican primary, it’ll be more of an issue than in the general election).
But the most interesting thing about this, and I’ve been wondering this all day, is why would a Presidential candidate endorse a gubernatorial candidate in a primary race? There’s 3 answers that I think it could possibly be:
- Huckabee has given up running for President (at least for 2012), and is going to focus on his PAC and getting Republicans elected around the country.
- He’s gambling that Cox will end up winning, and will help him here in Michigan in 2012.
- Huckabee is already counting Michigan as lost to him in 2012, and isn’t afraid of losing a few potential delegates by angering non-Cox supporters.
Option 2 and 3 make the most sense to me. I don’t think he’s given up on running, but I don’t think Huckabee can win Michigan in 2012 if Romney runs. Romney’s biggest competition here in Michigan was McCain, and without McCain, I think Romney would’ve gotten close to, if not more than, 50% of the vote in 2008.
He may not be publicly saying it, but I don’t think he plans on winning Michigan. My guess would be that he’s hoping Cox will bring in some supporters (and money) in 2012, so that can offset the voters that Huckabee may lose because he’s supporting Cox.
But no matter what the outcome is for Huckabee, this definitely gives Cox a decent boost for now. Whether or not is does anything for him come August 3rd, we’ll just have to wait and see.