More or less everyone assumes that Mike Huckabee will drop out of the race and head to warmer country barring a miracle finish in Iowa on Monday. After all, New Hampshire is cold too! There’s really just no reason to keep at it if the voters aren’t buying what you’re hucking.
Here’s a question that’s a big source of gossip among Arkansas politicos: will Huckabee offer up an endorsement once he splits from the race?
The rumor that keeps popping up is that he will endorse Marco Rubio and that major players like Gov. Asa Hutchinson and Lt. Gov. Tim Griffin — both of whom have endorsed the Huckster — will follow him into Rubio’s camp.
Rubio has a pretty impressive slate of endorsements in Arkansas, around a dozen state legislators, but most lawmakers in Arkansas have sided with the native son Huckabee. Huckabee has six of the seven constitutional officers in his corner, plus around twenty legislators.
Huckabee loathes Sen. Ted Cruz, so it would make some sense if he tossed his support to Rubio, the candidate considered Cruz’s strongest mainstream rival by many Republican politicians. Of course, the Rubio momentum is based largely on the idea that he’s the guy with the best shot to take down Donald Trump (and Cruz), a narrative that could be in trouble if Rubio falters in Iowa and/or New Hampshire.
Cruz, with Rep. Bob Ballinger chairing his state committee, has also begun racking up some endorsements from legislators, and it’s possible that some of those who have endorsed Huckabee — a group that includes some Tea Party types — might prefer Cruz.
And here’s the wild card: what if Huckabee endorsed Trump? I WOULD NOT PUT THIS PAST MIKE HUCKABEE. He was at Trump’s event last night, trying to soak up some attention, and Trump has suddenly announced that he’ll be at an event in Little Rock on Feb. 3. Surprise endorsement time?
To my knowledge, Trump has received no endorsements from any Arkansas lawmakers past or present.
The smart money is still on Rubio getting the nod from Huckabee and his backers, but the smart money has been pretty dumb this election season.