Huckabee says Iowans ‘like to date,’ but predicts they’ll ‘marry’ him

Source: Wash post

Republican presidential candidate Mike Huckabee may be trailing badly in public polls, but the former Arkansas governor predicted Thursday that there would be a revival of interest in his candidacy in Iowa and that pundits would be sorely mistaken to count him out as the Feb. 1 caucuses draw closer.

In 2008, Huckabee was running an underfunded, almost quixotic campaign but surged in the final weeks to win the Iowa caucuses by a healthy margin. He vowed Thursday, in a meeting with reporters and editors from The Washington Post, that history just might repeat itself.

“Sixty days out, it’s really too early to know where things are going to fall,” Huckabee said. “I think candidates who are riding high now are riding their crest, and chances are the next 30 days you’ll see a major, major shift in where things are. It happened four years ago, it happened eight years ago, [and] I’ll be surprised if it doesn’t happen this time.”

Huckabee said he thinks Iowa caucus goers who might be entranced by candidates leading in the polls today will break late for more familiar politicians like himself.

“The people of Iowa like to date; they don’t like to marry,” Huckabee said. “They marry on the day of the wedding more so than they do well in advance to commit.”

Huckabee said his political operation is in better shape now than it was at this point eight years ago, when his rise occurred suddenly and organically. He said he has signed up volunteer county chairmen in all of Iowa’s 99 counties and that he already has campaigned in 83 of the counties. He plans to hit all 99 by the third week of December.

So far, Huckabee’s organizing in Iowa is not paying dividends. In the Real Clear Politics average of polling in Iowa over the past month, Huckabee ranks 10th with 1.7 percent.

Huckabee acknowledged his struggles to get national media attention in a race that features a cast of 14 candidates, including billionaire mogul and reality television star, Donald Trump. And he said he is not daunted by other candidates who have raised far more money and have massive allied super PACs, such as former Florida governor Jeb Bush.

“We learned eight years ago, when we were outspent 15-to-1 by [Mitt] Romney, that you can buy the top 500 feet of every radio and television tower in the state, but ads don’t win Iowa — not radio, not TV, not direct mail,” he said. “One thing that people forget is that even in a typical year, people are so inundated with political messaging.”

Huckabee spoke with some disdain for media commentators who don’t take his candidacy seriously.

“When I hear the people, mostly from this town and in New York, sitting around the pundit table pontificating with such authority and such insight as to how it’s going down, I’m just thinking, you don’t learn from history,” Huckabee said.