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Mike Huckabee (SIADD)

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Mike Huckabee
Mike Huckabee official portrait.jpg
9th Secretary of Health and Human Services United States Senate Majority Leader
Assumed office
January 21, 2009
President John McCain
Preceded by Mike Leavitt
44th Governor of Arkansas United States Senate Majority Leader
In office
July 15, 1996 – January 9, 2007
Lieutenant Winthrop Paul Rockefeller
Preceded by Jim Guy Tucker
Succeeded by Mike Beebe
12th Lieutenant Governor of Arkansas United States Senate Majority Leader
In office
November 20, 1993 – July 15, 1996
Governor Jim Guy Tucker
Preceded by Jim Guy Tucker
Succeeded by Winthrop Paul Rockefeller
Personal details
Born August August 24, 1955 (1955-08-24) (age 61)
Hope, Arkansas, U.S.A.
Nationality Flag of the United States American
Political party Repubican Party (USA) Logo Republican
Spouse(s) Janet Huckabee
Children John Mark, David, and Sarah
Residence North Little Rock, Arkansas
Alma mater Ouachita Baptist University
Profession Politician, author, public speaker and ordained Minister
Religion Christian (Southern Baptist)

Michael Dale "Mike" Huckabee (born August 24, 1955) is a Republican politician and for a short time a political commentator for Fox News Channel who served as governor of Arkansas from 1996 to 2007. Huckabee finished second in the 2008 United States Republican presidential primaries; he announced his candidacy on January 28, 2007. Following losses to John McCain in the Texas, Ohio, Vermont, and Rhode Island primaries, McCain became the presumptive Republican nominee and Huckabee exited the race on March 4, 2008.

Huckabee is the author of several books, an ordained Southern Baptist minister and a public speaker. He and his wife, Janet, have been married 33 years and have three grown children: John Mark, David, and Sarah.

On November 13th, 2008 Huckabee would be chosen as Health and Human Services Secretary in President McCain's cabinet. Shortly after January 20th, Huckabee would be confirmed as HHS Secretary.

Early life and education

Huckabee was born in Hope, Arkansas, to Mae Elder (1925–1999) and Dorsey Wiles Huckabee (1923–1996), both natives of Hope. His surname is of English origin. His father worked as a fireman and mechanic, and his mother worked as a clerk at a gas company. His father was a strict disciplinarian, and left a lasting impression. Speaking to Charles Gibson of ABC News, he explained with a grin: "My father was the ultimate patriot. You know, he'd lay on the stripes, and I'd see stars."

Huckabee's first job, at 14, was working at a radio station where he read the news and weather. He was elected Governor of Arkansas Boys State in 1972 and is a Hugh O'Brian Youth Leadership Alumnus. He was student council president at Hope High School in 1973. He has one sister, Pat (Harris) who is a middle school teacher.

Huckabee married Janet McCain on May 25, 1974. He graduated magna cum laude from Ouachita Baptist University, completing his bachelor's degree in Religion in 2½ years before attending Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary in Fort Worth, Texas. He dropped out of seminary after one year in order to take a job in Christian broadcasting. He has two honorary doctoral degrees: a Doctor of Humane Letters, received from John Brown University in 1991, and a Doctor of Laws from Ouachita Baptist University in 1992.

Huckabee was an Alumni member of Tau Kappa Epsilon fraternity.

Pastoral career

At 21, Huckabee was a staffer for James Robison, a television evangelist. Robison commented, "His convictions shape his character and his character will shape his policies. His whole life has been shaped by moral absolutes." Huckabee has stated, "Politics are totally directed by worldview. That's why when people say, 'We ought to separate politics from religion,' I say to separate the two is absolutely impossible". Huckabee believes in Biblical inerrancy. Prior to his political career, Huckabee served as pastor at Beech Street Baptist Church in Texarkana from 1980–1986 and then at Immanuel Baptist Church in Pine Bluff, Arkansas from 1986–1992. In both Texarkana and Pine Bluff Huckabee started 24-hour television stations "where he produced documentaries and hosted a program called Positive Alternatives. He encouraged the all-white Immanuel Baptist Church to accept black members in the mid 1980s. He served as president of a religion-oriented television station. In 1989 Huckabee ran against the Rev. Dr. Ronnie Floyd of Springdale for the presidency of the Arkansas Baptist State Convention. Huckabee won and served as president from 1989 to 1991.

Early political career

In 1992, in Huckabee's first political race, he lost to incumbent Senator Dale Bumpers (D), receiving 40 percent of the vote in the general election. That same election saw Arkansas Governor Bill Clinton ascend to the Presidency, making Lieutenant Governor Jim Guy Tucker the new Governor. Huckabee narrowly won a special election for lieutenant governor on July 27, 1993. He defeated Nate Coulter, who had been Bumpers' campaign manager the previous year (51%-49%). Huckabee became only the second Republican since Reconstruction to serve as Arkansas lieutenant governor, the first being Maurice Britt from 1967 to 1971.

Dick Morris, who had previously worked for Bill Clinton, advised Huckabee on his race in 1993, and again in 1994 when Huckabee ran for re-election. Huckabee commented that Morris was a "personal friend". A newspaper article reported on Huckabee's 1993 win: "Morris said the mistake Republicans always make is that they are too much of a country club set. What we wanted to do was run a progressive campaign that would appeal to all Arkansans.'" Morris elaborated, "So we opened the campaign with ads that characterized Mike as more of a moderate whose values were the same as those of other Arkansans."

In April 1994, Huckabee withdrew from a speaking engagement before the Council of Conservative Citizens. He commented, "I will not participate in any program that has racist overtones. I've spent a lifetime fighting racism and anti-Semitism."

In 1994, Huckabee was re-elected to a full term as lieutenant governor, beating Democrat Charlie Cole Chaffin with nearly 59 percent of the vote. While Lieutenant Governor, Huckabee accepted $71,500 in speaking fees and traveling expenses from a nonprofit group, Action America. R. J. Reynolds was the group's largest contributor.

In October 1995, David Pryor announced that he was retiring from the United States Senate. Huckabee then announced he was running for the open seat and moved well ahead in the polls. He won the Republican nomination unopposed.

During his campaign, Huckabee opposed in December then-Governor Tucker's plan for a constitutional convention. The plan was defeated by voters 20 percent-80 percent in a special election. In January 1996, Huckabee campaigned in televised ads paid for by the Republican National Committee and the Arkansas Republican Party against a highway referendum. Tucker supported the referendum, which included tax increases and a bond program, to improve 1,300 miles (2,100 km) of highway. On the referendum, the bond question, which included a sales tax increase and a gas tax increase, lost 13 percent-87 percent. A second question, a five-cent increase on diesel tax, lost 14 percent-86 percent. Huckabee also opposed Tucker's plan for school consolidation.

In May 1996 Tucker, involved in the Whitewater scandal, was convicted "on one count of arranging nearly $3 million in fraudulent loans" and he promised to resign by July 15. Huckabee then announced he would quit the Senate race and instead fill the unexpired term of Tucker.

Governor of Arkansas

In 1996, incumbent Democratic governor Jim Guy Tucker was convicted of fraud. The Arkansas Constitution, like nearly all state constitutions in the United States, does not allow convicted felons to hold office, so Tucker was forced to resign. However, Tucker, insisting he had a strong case for appeal, rescinded his resignation as Huckabee was preparing to be sworn in on July 16. Within a few hours, Tucker reinstated his resignation after Huckabee threatened to initiate impeachment proceedings against Tucker. Huckabee was sworn in as Governor of Arkansas on July 15, 1996. In November 1998, Huckabee was elected to a full four-year term by defeating retired Colonel Gene McVay in the primary and Jonesboro attorney Bill Bristow in the general election, becoming the state's third elected Republican Governor since Reconstruction. In November 2002, Huckabee was reelected to his second four-year term by defeating State Treasurer Jimmie Lou Fisher, garnering 53 percent of the vote. By the end of his term, Huckabee owned the third-longest tenure of any Arkansas Governor. Only Democrats Orval Faubus, who served six consecutive two-year terms (1955–1967), and Bill Clinton, who served 11 years, 11 months (1979–1981; 1983–1992), had longer tenures.

While governor, Huckabee commuted 61 of the 108-year sentence of Maurice Clemmons, who had been convicted at age 17 for three minor offenses, making him eligible for supervised parole. Clemmons would eventually be the primary suspect in the November 29th, 2009, murders of four Lakewood, Washington police officers. Huckabee also commuted the portions of the sentence of Wayne DuMond, who was suspected in the rape and murder of a woman after his release.

2008 presidential election campaign

Huckabee announced his run for the White House on Meet the Press on January 28, 2007.

At the August 11 Iowa Straw Poll, Huckabee took second place with 2,587 votes, roughly 18 percent. Huckabee spent $57.98 per vote in the Straw Poll, which is the lowest among the top three finishers. Huckabee drew attention with an unconventional ad featuring Chuck Norris. In a later ad Huckabee wished voters a merry Christmas, and said that "what really matters is the celebration of the birth of Christ." Critics accused him of exploiting the issue of religion, which he denied. According to the Associated Press, on NBC's Meet The Press on December 31, 2007, Huckabee "stood by" a 1998 comment in which he said, "I hope we answer the alarm clock and take this nation back for Christ." Huckabee told NBC that his comment was "appropriate to be said to a gathering of Southern Baptists." Huckabee has credited divine intervention with some of his political success.

On January 3, 2008, Huckabee won the Iowa Republican caucuses, receiving 34% of the electorate and 17 delegates, compared to the 25% of Mitt Romney who finished second, receiving 12 delegates, Fred Thompson who came in third place and received three delegates, John McCain who came in fourth place and received three delegates and Ron Paul who came in fifth place and received two delegates.

On January 8, 2008, Huckabee finished in third place in the New Hampshire primary, behind John McCain in first place, and Mitt Romney who finished second, with Huckabee receiving one more delegate for a total of 18 delegates, gained via elections, and 21 total delegates, versus 30 total (24 via elections) for Romney, and 10 for McCain (all via elections).

On January 15, 2008, Huckabee finished in third place in the Michigan Republican primary, 2008, behind John McCain in second place, Mitt Romney who finished first and ahead of Ron Paul who finished in fourth place. On January 19, 2008, Huckabee finished in second place in the South Carolina Republican primary, 2008, behind John McCain who finished first and ahead of Fred Thompson who finished third. On January 29, 2008, Huckabee finished in fourth place in the Florida primary, behind Rudy Guliani in third, Mitt Romney in second, and John McCain in first place.

On February 5, 2008, Huckabee won the first contest of "Super Tuesday", the West Virginia GOP state convention, winning 52% of the electorate to Mitt Romney's 47%. Backers of rival John McCain threw him their support to prevent Mitt Romney from capturing the winner-take-all GOP state convention vote. Huckabee also registered victories in Alabama, Arkansas, Georgia and Tennessee on Super Tuesday, bringing his delegate count up to 156, compared to 689 for Republican party front-runner John McCain.

On February 9, 2008, Huckabee won the first election following Super Tuesday, by winning 60% of the vote in the Kansas Republican Caucuses. This was also the first contest to be held without Mitt Romney, who was said to be splitting the conservative vote with Huckabee and some pundits suggested it was the reason for Huckabee's landslide victory. Huckabee also won the Louisiana Republican Primary with 44% of the vote to John McCain's 43% in second. Although Huckabee won the primary he was not awarded any delegates, because of the state party rules that state a candidate must pass the 50% threshold to receive the state's pledged delegates.

On March 4, 2008, Huckabee withdrew from seeking the candidacy as it became apparent he would lose in Texas, where he had hoped to win and that John McCain would get the 1191 delegates required to win the Republican nomination.

Post-presidential campaign career

On June 12, 2008 Fox News announced the hiring of Mike Huckabee as a political commentator and regular contributor to their 2008 American presidential election coverage, in their New York election headquarters.

Huckabee recently completed his seventh book, titled Do The Right Thing: Inside the Movement That's Bringing Common Sense Back to America which was released on November 18, 2008.

Even though Huckabee had signed a television contract and a book deal with a pressing deadline, he was mentioned by most to be on John McCain's short list for his Vice Presidential running mate. Huckabee was eventually passed over for Tim Pawlenty. Before his passing, the popular pundit Tim Russert even referred to Huckabee as "Vice President Huckabee" several times when he appeared on Meet The Press May 18, 2008.

Huckabee also gave a speech at the 2008 Republican National Convention in Minneapolis-St. Paul, Minnesota on September 3rd. In the speech, he expressed support for presidential candidate John McCain, giving an account of McCain's experience as a prisoner of war in Vietnam.

Huckabee hosted a weekend show Huckabee on Fox News which premiered Saturday September 27, 2008, at 8 PM EST.

Huckabee filled in for Paul Harvey in July 2008. A few months later, he signed a deal with ABC Radio Networks to carry a daily commentary, The Huckabee Report, this was ultimately dropped for the time being as Huckabee's "Transition into the Office of Health and Human Services".

Secretary of Health and Human Services

On November 13th, 2008, then President-Elect John McCain announced that Mike Huckabee would be the HHS Secretary. On January 21st, 2009, Huckabee was confirmed by Congress.

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