Former Governor Mike Huckabee plans to announce his candidacy for president Tuesday in the Arkansas town that he and Bill Clinton both call home, the former governor is not shying away from the comparisons as he promises to run as a different kind of Man from Hope.
The former governor of Arkansas, 59, became a national figure by staging an upset win in Iowa’s kickoff nominating contest during his 2008 presidential bid.
This time around other Republicans with national recognition have emerged as rivals for the role of leading crusader on social issues such as abortion rights and gay marriage.
It is not a mistake that Huckabee has chosen to launch his latest presidential campaign in Hope.
“I obviously can’t give you a preview of the speech, but the backdrop is important because that’s where he grew up. It’s home. It’s where his friends live. It’s where he graduated from high school. It’s where his wife is from,” Huckabee spokesman Hogan Gidley said.
Beginning his run in Hope also speaks to who Huckabee is not, specifically that he is not like the town’s more famous son.
“I’ll be shocked if he doesn’t use it as a way to contrast himself with the Clinton machine. I think he can use it to emphasize himself as the ‘un-Clinton,'” Jay Barth, a political science professor at Hendrix College in Conway, Arkansas, said.
Huckabee says he has some experience that his rivals lack: How to fight Democratic favorite Hillary Clinton. He encountered the remnants of the Democratic Clinton political machine during a decade as Arkansas governor, a job that Bill Clinton had held before moving to the White House in 1993.
“I hear some people say we’re going to have to have someone who knows how to fight. I’ll tell you what, if you battled the political machine that I battled, you know how to fight,” Huckabee told Republican activists in New Hampshire last month.
Huckabee will make his announcement in Hope, Arkansas, which both he and Bill Clinton call their hometown.
Huckabee is perhaps the Republican presidential hopeful who speaks most clearly about the economy to working Americans.
“I put America and its workers first. Too many in the political class put Wall Street and Washington elites first. They aren’t fighting for American workers,” Huckabee wrote in an op-ed in Iowa’s Des Moines Register in March.
He is at his most strident when combating what he sees as immorality.
He attacked one of the entertainment world’s most famous couples, Beyonce and Jay Z, in his new book “God, Guns, Grits, and Gravy.”
In an ever-growing field of Republican candidates, Huckabee finds himself in the second-tier, according to the RealClearPolitics average of recent primary polls.
In a recent CNN/ORC poll, Huckabee is in fourth place with 9 percent support.