Monday, August 30, 2010

Miami Herald: Why Rick Scott Won

Courtesy of POLITICO's excellent daily update Morning Score comes this report from the Miami Herald about Rick Scott's spending in his primary win over McCollum:

The average TV viewer in the Jacksonville area saw a Scott ad 198 times between April and the Aug. 24 primary. Viewers in Miami-Dade and Broward counties -- Florida's most expensive media market -- likely saw Scott's spots 150 times. In Tampa Bay and the Orlando area: 266 and 265 times, respectively.

In nearly every city, Republicans likely heard Scott's message via the $1 million he spent on conservative talk radio, frequently listened to by six in 10 GOP primary voters. That was on top of the one million phone calls placed to voters and the staggering number of glossy fliers -- 28 -- sent to more than two million GOP voters in general. The campaign specifically targeted soldiers overseas, women and even gun owners with specially designed messages.

Scott delegated so much responsibility to his advisors that, in the waning weeks of the campaign, he said he had no idea how much and where they spent his money on TV. In one case a media buyer plunked down a $105,000 check at a Tampa broadcaster's office and said: "We'll take whatever's available."

Scott advisors compared the strategy to ``the Colin Powell doctrine'' -- a reference to the military theory of employing overwhelming force.

Read the whole thing...

In other words, any reports of Governor Huckabee's decline (or irrelevance) due to the McCollum loss are greatly exaggerated. The amount Scott spent on negative advertising — almost all of which was his own money — approaches the point of ridiculousness.

Saturday, August 28, 2010

CNN: Huckabee Support Not "Flashy"

CNN's Political Ticker blog provides a much-needed infusion of perspective on the Joe Miller race in Alaska. While acknowledging Palin's influence on the race in her home state, it identifies Huckabee under-the-radar (oft-ignored) support — particularly by unleashing the grassroots volunteers of Huck PAC:

While the media focused largely on Palin’s support for Miller, Mike Huckabee’s political organization was also playing a key role in turning out conservative voters.

The Palin endorsement was guaranteed to draw more attention, given the former governor’s influence among Republicans in her home state and Huckabee’s relatively late support for Miller. Palin came out for Miller in early June, while Huckabee did so on August 9.

But the former Arkansas governor and Fox News host quickly put his political action committee to work for Miller — another example, his aides say, of Huckabee’s underappreciated influence on races around the country.

“Gov. Huckabee not only endorsed Joe through Huck PAC, he made a radio spot that aired frequently as well as robocalls, blogging on his website and Facebook, and sending Twitter messages,” said Miller spokesman Randy DeSoto. Huck PAC also did three get-out-the-vote email blasts for Miller before the vote, along with a phone bank.

Read the whole thing...

UPDATE: Christian Heinze of GOP 12 posts some terrific analysis based on this article:

You're tired of hearing me say this, but it's often assumed that the favorites for the '12 nomination are 1) Romney 2) Palin and 3) Huck, with the idea that Huck is a poor man's Palin.

But Huck's dominated southern state-by-state polls this year, while according to the pollster PPP, Palin's failed to take the top spot in any state, in any region of the country (and the last week has proven PPP knows its stuff when it comes to measuring the current mood).

Read the whole thing...

Thursday, August 26, 2010

Huckabee and Palin in 2012

Bear with me as I indulge in some pure — and very premature — speculation.

Former governors Sarah Palin and Mike Huckabee are often said to appeal to the same voters: evangelicals and social conservatives. While Palin (for the moment) draws more popularity from the Tea Party crowd, her favorables are dwarfed by Huckabee's.

Following news this week of Palin's dismal numbers in Iowa — confirming my long-held opinion that she has little to no chance at the nomination — I've been thinking:

What happens if Palin doesn't run, or drops out early?

In 2008, it was the Palin pick for vice president that reignited enthusiasm for McCain among social conservatives — and particularly, a lot of Huckabee supporters. Is it reasonable to assume that much of her support would fall to Huckabee?

So far, polls have shown that Romney's support is soft — when additional candidates are added to the field (like Gingrich) his numbers drop, while Huckabee's remain steady.

While some have theorized that Palin and Huckabee will split the social conservative vote, paving the way for Romney, I see Gingrich having more lasting power than Palin. If Palin drops, and Gingrich stays in, the road might instead be paved for Huckabee.

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

Huckabee: Miller Win Would Be Colossal Upset

Fox News has a great article about Joe Miller's lead in the Alaska race, based on Huckabee's interview on Fox and Friends this morning:

It's not just a Republican primary election race in Alaska, it's the "Continental Army versus the British." That's what former Arkansas governor Mike Huckabee said Wednesday morning on "Fox & Friends" when he weighed in on the still-undetermined, and surprisingly tight, Senate race. 

Joe Miller, a Tea Party favorite who was endorsed by Huckabee and the state's former governor and Republican Vice Presidential Candidate Sarah Palin, is currently leading in the vote count. On Fox, Huckabee was careful not to label Miller a Tea Party member - and instead described the GOP candidate as someone the Tea Party can embrace because he is "fiscally conservative and socially conservative."

Read the whole thing...

Action: Vote in Des Moines Register Poll

From David Schmidt of

The Des Moines Register has a 2012 poll up. Please vote for Gov. Huckabee and post this on FB, Twitter, etc:

Vote and spread the word.

Last Night: Victory, Disappointment, and Hope

I woke up this morning to see the political world ablaze over Joe Miller's thin lead over Lisa Murkowski in Alaska and Rick Scott's defeat of Bill McCollum in Florida.

In other Huckabee news, Karen Diebel lost narrowly in the Florida 24th (as expected) and Trent Franks blew away his primary challenger in the Arizona 4th.

On the bright side, Huckabee-backed candidates won 8 out of 11 races last night — with Miller a potential 9th win. Most won by 60 percent or more, some by as high as 70 or 80 percent. It was a strong showing for Huck PAC and Governor Huckabee.

The biggest wins were Lankford and Webster. Huck PAC volunteers made thousands of calls for Lankford in the Oklahoma 5th and Huckabee personally campaigned for Webster in Florida last weekend — neither was a foregone conclusion, and both won handily.

On the down side, a McCollum win would have been the clincher on a great night. It was the highest office and the biggest race in Florida. While it doesn't so much hurt Huckabee (Romney, Gingrich, and Jeb Bush also endorsed McCollum), it could have helped.

But the biggest story of last night is the story that has yet to resolve. With 97 percent of precincts reporting, political newcomer and long shot Alaskan Joe Miller leads incumbent Senator Lisa Murkowski by less than 2,000 votes out of 90,000 cast.

CQ Politics analyzes the race — which won't be resolved until as late as September 8th, after 16,000 absentee ballots and additional late ballot are counted:

Alaska Sen. Lisa Murkowski is in danger of becoming the seventh Member of Congress to lose a primary this year, as she trails Republican challenger Joe Miller in Tuesday’s contest. With 98 percent of precincts reporting, Miller leads 51 percent to 49 percent, with less than 2,000 votes separating them.

The final result will not be known for at least a week, however, with as many as 16,000 absentee ballots waiting to be counted, the Anchorage Daily News reports. The first ballot count will take place Aug. 31, followed by subsequent counts for late-arriving ballots on Sept. 3 and Sept. 8.

Most political observers were not expecting Miller to mount such a serious challenge to Murkowski, who holds a 10-to-one cash advantage. Miller had the backing of local and national tea party organizations, while Murkowski ran on experience, seniority and as a continuation of the legacy left behind by the late Sen. Ted Stevens (R-Alaska).

Plus, despite a dearth of polling on the race, the most recent primary poll showed Murkowski with at least a 30-point lead. However, Miller had a couple of powerful GOP endorsements in his pocket, including former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee and former Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin , who loaned their voices for robocalls that flooded the state.

Read the whole thing...

The Fairbanks News-Miner gives a local perspective on the race, including a quote from Miller's spokesman Randy DeSoto giving partial credit to Huckabee:

Miller, a Gulf War veteran and former federal magistrate who has held no prior political office, looked to pull off the upset of the night as incumbent Republicans around the country fended off insurgent candidates supported by Tea Party group.

With 71.5 percent of precincts reporting and an unknown number of absentee ballots still out, Miller led Murkowski 51.83 percent to 48.1 percent, with a lead of about 3,135 votes.

“Sarah Palin, Mike Huckabee, Laura Ingraham, everything just seemed to come together at the end,” Miller spokesman Randy DeSoto said, rattling off some of Miller’s biggest endorsements.

Read the whole thing...

A Miller win would favor Sarah Palin more than anyone else — due to her Alaska and Murkowski connections — but it would remain a huge upset, a win for Alaska, and a win for Governor Huckabee. Let's hope it holds. More to come throughout the day.

Tuesday, August 24, 2010

Election Night Results: 8 for 11 (So Far)

We're three hours into the August 24th primaries and results are being finalized — of those races, Huckabee is a perfect 7 for 7:


Marco Rubio wins GOP nomination for US Senator (84 percent, field of 3).
Daniel Webster wins in the Florida 8th district (40 percent, field of 5).
Dennis Ross wins in the Florida 12th district (69 percent).
Rich Nugent wins in the Florida 5th district (62 percent).
David Rivera wins in the Florida 25th district (63 percent).
Bill McCollum loses GOP nomination for Florida Governor (43 percent).
Karen Diebel loses in the Florida 24th district (29 percent, field of 5).


James Lankford wins in the Oklahoma 5th district (65 percent).
John Doak wins for Oklahoma Insurance Commissioner (70 percent).


Trent Franks wins in the Arizona 4th district (80 percent).


Joe Miller leads in for the GOP nomination for US Senator (51 percent).

The tough races are McColllum (FL Governor) and Diebel (FL 24th), where McCollum trails by 3.2 percent (just under 40,000 votes) with 77 percent of precincts reporting and Diebel trails by 0.9 percent (just over 600 votes) with 94.5 percent of precincts reporting.

Diebel's chances are slipping away, but the race has not been called. McCollum still has an outside chance to catch up from Miami-Dade County (where he leads by 22,000 votes with 48 percent reporting) — but so far it is not looking good.

Update (10:44 PM): Almost ready to call it for Scott over McCollum. Miami-Dade is not pushing McCollum through and Scott's lead has grown with 90 percent of precincts reporting. Frustrating loss for a great candidate and for Governor Huckabee.

Update (10:55 PM): The race has been called for Scott.

Update (10:57 PM): From a 2012 perspective, I don't think this hurts Huckabee too much. Yes, he campaigned over the weekend for McCollum. But McCollum was also endorsed by Mitt Romney and Newt Gingrich (Sarah Palin did not endorse either candidate, unless I'm mistaken) — so really, no 2012 hopeful gained or lost.

Update (11:00 PM): Heading to bed because of an early school morning tomorrow. Hoping Diebel (in Florida) and Miller (in Alaska) pull off miracles. More tomorrow.

Update (9:35 AM): Updated to include Franks win, Diebel loss, and Miller lead.

Rubio Dodges Question, but Compliments Huckabee

The New York Times, which recently did an extensive profile of Marco Rubio where he echoed several of Governor Huckabee's positions on immigration, posts "10 Question for Marco Rubio" — including one about backing Huckabee in 2012:

Q. In the last Republican presidential primary, you supported former Gov. Mike Huckabee of Arkansas. Would you support him again if he runs?

A. “I haven’t even started thinking about that. We’re very good friends. He’s been an early supporter of mine, but I’m not going to speculate on candidates that haven’t even announced if they are running. But he hasn’t done anything to change my opinion of him, I’ll tell you that.

Rubio was wise to dodge the question. It's way too early to endorse unannounced candidates for 2012 — and he has a campaign of his own to win. But he clearly sympathizes with Huckabee's positions and has great respect for him.

Where (and When) to Watch Returns Tonight

If you are planning to follow election returns from Florida, Oklahoma, and Alaska tonight, here's a list of the best places to find up-to-the-minute results (all times EDT):

All Races: (7 PM)

Florida: State Division of Elections (8 PM)*

Twitter: @BillMcCollum, @WebsterCongress, @KarenDiebel

Oklahoma: State Election Board (8 PM)

Twitter: @JamesLankford

Alaska: State Division of Elections (12 AM)

Twitter: @JoeWMiller

POLITICO will provide a slick presentation of results from primaries across the country — including Arizona and Vermont (thus, the earlier starting time). Individual state election departments will often provide more detailed returns and more timely updates.

Have I missed anything? Leave a comment and I'll check it out.

* Most Florida polls will close at 7 PM (EDT), so we could see some results then. But Pensacola and other far west parts of the state are on Central time and will not close until 8 PM (EDT) — and the Division of Elections says results will come after 8 PM.

RightOSphere: In-State Analysis of Florida Primaries

Jonathan of RightOSphere gives his in-state take on the Florida primaries today:

GOP Governor: Obviously this is the one that has attracted the most headlines and not for great reasons. Bill McCollum and Rick Scott have gone at each other ferociously and expensively; this is Florida’s first $70 million primary. Recent polls show McCollum ahead (except for PPP) and the mood amongst McCollum staffers is very good, but still one to watch.

District 8: This is the race for the honor to take on Alan Grayson. Seven official candidates are vying for the nomination but only 3 are truly viable and each brings something different to the table. Businessman Bruce O’Donoghue is the self-financing rich man in the race. Former State Senator Daniel Webster has the support of most of the FL GOP Establishment. State Representative Kurt Kelley has the best ground game. This has been a pretty amicable, low-profile race. There has been no polling in the race but the evidence shows it is close.

District 24: This is the race to take on Suzanne Kosmas. Five candidates, three viable. This is like District 8 in that the top 3 candidates each have something different. Winter Park Vice Mayor Karen Diebel has a lot of big name endorsements (Mike Huckabee being the most prominent). Businessman Craig Miller is self-financing, and State Representative Sandy Adams (my former boss), has the ground game along with some national conservative groups (NRA, ACU, Florida Right to Life). Unlike District 8, this race has gotten very nasty and polling has Miller and Adams very tight. This one could take a while to decide.

Read the whole thing...

The Hill: Huckabee Looks to Play Kingmaker

Over on The Hill's campaign blog, Shane D'Aprile argues that Governor Huckabee has the most to lose — but also to gain — in today's Florida primary races:

In a departure from previous primary days this cycle, it's former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee (R) who has the most on the line in Tuesday's Republican primaries in Florida.

Huckabee has endorsed in three competitive GOP primaries--he's backing Attorney General Bill McCollum in the primary for governor, Daniel Webster in the race for Rep. Alan Grayson's (D) seat and Karen Diebel in the primary to face Rep. Suzanne Kosmas (D).

In the governor's race, three potential 2012 hopefuls are behind McCollum--Huckabee, former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney and former House Speaker Newt Gingrich. The primary between McCollum and Rick Scott was in a dead heat heading into Tuesday.

But Huckabee is the only one who came to the state to rally for McCollum the weekend before the primary. He is also the only one who has waded into the most competitive congressional primaries in the state. Huckabee headlined a rally for congressional candidate Daniel Webster over the weekend.

Read the whole thing...

As I noted in my primary rundown, all three of these races could go either way. McCollum would be the biggest win. I'd be satisfied with a victory there. At the same time, Webster should win. A loss wouldn't be shocking, but still disappointing. Finally, a win by Karen Diebel win would be a cherry on top. Here's hoping for a trifecta. We'll find out tonight.

Monday, August 23, 2010

Primaries to Watch Tomorrow

Two weeks ago, Huckabee put the political world on notice when his endorsement, campaigning, and volunteers secured a razor-thin margin of victory for Georgia gubernatorial candidate Nathan Deal in the Republican primary.

Tomorrow will feature several primaries with Huckabee-endorsed candidates in Florida, Oklahoma, and Alaska. Here is a quick rundown of the key races:

In Florida, Huckabee-backed state attorney general Bill McCollum is running for governor against former health care executive Rick Scott in a very negative campaign, where Scott has spent over $50 million dollars — mostly on negative ads.

Huckabee appeared on Sunday to campaign for McCollum. Mason-Dixon (+9) and Quinnipiac (+4) both show McCollum with an edge, with PPP showing Scott up (+7). With undecided voters, this race is too close to call.

Huckabee is also backing front-running Daniel Webster in the 12th district and underdog Karen Diebel in a three-way race for the GOP nomination in the 24th district. Huckabee campaigned for both candidates over the weekend. To help phone bank for Diebel, click here.

In Oklahoma, in the 5th district, former state representative Kevin Calvey competes against the Huckabee-backed conservative and surprise newcomer James Lankford in a run-off for US Representative. The two finished within two percentage points of each other in the first primary — and the race remains tight. To phone bank for Lankford, click here.

In Alaska, Palin and Huckabee-backed Joe Miller faces off against incumbent Senator Lisa Murkowksi. What little polling there is shows Murkowski with a comfortable lead and a Miller win would be a big-time upset — but he's the true conservative in the race. To help phone bank for Miller, click here.

My analysis: Wins by any of these candidates will be a win for America and their constituents. From a 2012 perspective, wins by McCollum and Lankford would solidify Huckabee's status as a frontrunner for the GOP nomination. I think wins in these races are very possible, as is Webster's race. Wins by Diebel and Miller (even more so) would be less likely — but possibly even bigger for Huckabee, as upsets. Stay tuned.

Come back tomorrow for commentary and details on following election returns.

Huck PAC Refutes Blogger Accusation

On Sunday, Florida blogger Nick Egoroff claimed to have an anonymous source within the Rick Scott gubernatorial campaign saying that Huckabee offered his endorsement to Scott in exchange for $250,000. Hogan Gidley, director of Huck PAC, responds:

Let me be perfectly clear, Governor Mike Huckabee has never had a conversation with Rick Scott or anyone on his staff about such matters. In fact, at the time the Scott campaign claims this was being discussed, Governor Huckabee had already early voted for Bill McCollum.

Governor Huckabee only endorses who he believes will be the best person for the position – and in this case, that’s Florida gubernatorial candidate Bill McCollum. This lie from a mysterious source within the Rick Scott campaign shows how dishonest and desperate his campaign is.

If Rick Scott made this claim, he needs to publically and immediately admit this is total lie – and if he didn’t say it, he needs to fire whichever member of his campaign staff said it.

Read the whole thing...

Two preliminary thoughts: First, Egoroff is a big Scott supporter with an anonymous campaign source two days before a tightly-contested election. His credibility is pretty low. Second, Huckabee has a strong alibi, having voted for McCollum before the "conversation" supposedly took placed. At this point, it's a non-story.

RightOSphere: Huckabee's Courage

On the generally Romney-leaning political blog RightOSphere (formerly, a current Romney supporter begins to warm up to Huckabee. He concludes:

I am still not sold on the whole package of Mike Huckabee, but he has shown more backbone than his other FoxNews colleagues. Though I remain a Romney guy, I am finding myself agreeing on one issue after another with the Huckster...

I believe that the biggest threats to the Republican party are within itself. The push to the right by the Talk Radio/Fox News cabal is a great way to win 2010 and a terrible way to build a functioning, long-term majority. We need leaders with courage who will counter the radical right. The future of the conservative movement depends on it.

Read the whole thing...

Sunday, August 22, 2010

Leonard Pitts Jr.: Why I Like Mike Huckabee

Nationally-syndicated columnist Leonard Pitts, Jr. (winner of the 2004 Pulitzer Prize for Commentary) published a great editorial this weekend on why he — and by representation, so many independents, minorities, Democrats, and other traditionally non-Republican voters — can't help but like Governor Huckabee. Excerpt below:

How often have you heard a politician say something intellectually dishonest, and you knew it was intellectually dishonest and he knew it was intellectually dishonest and you knew he knew, and you knew he knew you knew -- but he went and said it anyway.

Because he's not trying to convince anyone of the fitness of his ideas, nor persuade them to his point of view.

No, his only object is to tick off his talking points, hit his applause lines, score for his side.

Sometimes you wonder if anyone is still on the country's side. You couldn't prove it by most of what passes for leadership these days.

Which is why we never seem to reach national consensus, never seem to find compromise, never do anything except boil with a free floating, self-perpetuating anger.

But Huckabee seems to have the novel idea that it's more important to find answers than win arguments, more important to speak conscience than parrot talking points.

That's why, even when I disagree with him, I like Mike.

And why I wish other politicians would take note.

Read the whole thing...

Saturday, August 21, 2010

Welcome and Introduction

Welcome to I Vote Huckabee — a collection of articles, links, and commentary on the hoped-for 2012 presidential run of Governor Mike Huckabee.

My name is Alex Harris. I am twenty-one years old and formerly blogged at I Heart Huckabee with two of my brothers during the 2008 presidential primary.

With my twin brother, I co-founded the grassroots website, which grew into an active network of over 20,000 volunteers in 49 of the 50 states.

In a twist of providence, we were also responsible for securing the endorsement of martial arts legend Chuck Norris for Governor Huckabee.

In an alternate universe, I am a husband, full-time student of Government at Patrick Henry College, Christian author, and conference speaker for young adults.

For more background, you can read, watch, or listen to more at the links below:

To contact me, you can email ivotehuckabee [at] gmail [dot] com.