Former Arkansas Governor Mike Huckabee is out of the Republican presidential primary and now his many endorsements from home-state officials are up for grabs before the March 1 Arkansas primary.
Huckabee came in 9th at the Iowa caucus with 1.8 percent of the vote. Is it too early to pick through the bones of Huckabee’s failed bid? For what it’s worth...
Most of his supporter list said it’s premature to endorse a new candidate. But Lieutenant Governor Tim Griffin, while withholding a formal endorsement, heaped praise upon Marco Rubio during an interview with KUAR.
“I’m very impressed with Marco Rubio. I think his energy and his youth and vigor will be very good for our party. He is a solid conservative and it’s very telling when you look at statements by prominent Democrats…the person they are most politically afraid of is Marco Rubio,” said Griffin. “I think he has an incredible perspective on the uniqueness of the United States.”
Donald Trump is holding a rally at Barton Colesium in Little Rock on Wednesday. Griffin said he won’t be in attendance, “I don’t have any plans to be there but I welcome anybody to the state.”
Griffin said that Trump “has tapped into real frustration” that he and some of his constituents share but he finds Rubio a more appealing candidate.
“I am very suspicious of [Trump’s] views because a lot of his views are completely off what a conservative would believe. I think Donald Trump is first and foremost a showman,” he said. “I never know whether I’m hearing the showman or his genuine beliefs.”
Listen to Lt. Gov. Griffin’s full remarks on Huckabee and the 2016 Republican Primary below:
Governor Asa Hutchinson thanked Huckabee for his campaign.
"Governor Huckabee ran a passionate race for president, and did so with a sense of humor and upbeat hope for America that will surely be missed. It was my honor to support him early."
The governor’s spokesman J.R. Davis said Hutchinson is still reviewing his options.
"With the end of Governor Huckabee’s campaign for president, Governor Hutchinson will now take a look at the rest of the Republican field and endorse the candidate he believes best suited to lead our country and win in November.
"No decision is expected until closer to the March 1 primary date."
US Senator John Boozman’s office.
“He has no comment at this time. He hasn't had the opportunity to speak with Gov. Huckabee yet.”
US Rep. Bruce Westerman
I'm going to monitor the primary process as the field of candidates narrows and observe which candidates start talking about how to avoid the fiscal train wreck that $19 trillion of debt leads to and who will best carry out the primary role of the federal government to provide for the common defense keeping Americans safe. I want to see who has the best ideas to address our major issues:
1. National security and foreign policy
2. Jobs and economic growth
4. Reducing poverty and growing the middle class by promoting work and less government dependence.
5. Restoring separation of powers and reigning in agency overreach and over regulation.
US Rep. French Hill didn’t indicate how he’s leaning but praised Huckabee.
“My friend, Mike Huckabee, was our fine governor and I am proud that he threw his hat in the ring during this important 2016 race for president. Following the results of the Iowa Caucus, Martha and I wish him well as he turns the page and starts the next chapter in his life of leadership.”
Attorney General Leslie Rutledge’s office.
“She has not made a decision. Like others who were supporting Gov. Huckabee, she will carefully evaluate the other candidates to decide who is best.”
State Senator Jason Rapert on twitter:
— Sen. Jason Rapert (@jasonrapert) February 2, 2016
Both Iowa's second place finisher Donald Trump and third place Marco Rubio made brief mention of Huckabee in their election result speeches Monday night. Huckabee’s campaign had increasingly heated exchanges with Iowa’s first pick Ted Cruz who swallowed up the plurality of the evangelical vote.
Trump is speaking at Barton Coliseum in Little Rock on Wednesday. This will be his second trip to the state since July. Cruz has made two rounds of campaign stops to Arkansas. Rubio has not visited the state.
UPDATE: U.S. Reps. Steve Womack and Rick Crawford have endorsed Rubio. U.S. Senator Tom Cotton had not previously endorsed a candidate and still has not.