Charisma Caucus

This Candidate Wonders Where He Went Wrong With Evangelicals

Mike Huckabee and Rick Santorum
One of the two most recent winners of the Iowa Republican Caucus—former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee and former U.S. Sen. Rick Santorum—is scratching his head after evangelical leaders who once supported him have abandoned his 2016 campaign in favor of U.S. Sen. Ted Cruz. (Reuters photo)

One candidate, who says he jumped into the Republican presidential race with the understanding he would have the support of evangelical leaders across the country, is now lamenting their lack of support.

Following last week's debate in Las Vegas, former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee told National Review's Tim Alberta he was still scratching his head over evangelical leaders' recent decision to back U.S. Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Texas) instead of him:

"For reasons I don't fully understand, years and years of actually doing something and getting things done didn't matter. And I don't understand that ...

"You know, everybody has a right to do what they want to do. But it was disappointing to me. These are guys I've worked with for years and years. Many of them I've helped with their projects and their various endeavors."

Huckabee, who has long supported evangelists' endeavors, had broad support from Christian conservatives in his 2008 presidential bid and may have assumed that support would continue. If so, he greatly miscalculated the appeal Cruz would have with the American public and the evangelical leaders' desire to get behind a solid Christian who could win.

The 2008 winner of the Iowa Republican Caucus has been languishing in the single digits the entire campaign. His 30-day polling average in Iowa—and in national polling—sits at just 2 percent. He's averaging much lower in New Hampshire and South Carolina.

It seems unlikely he will drop out before the first-in-the-nation Iowa Caucus on Feb. 1. According to his campaign's October financial disclosures to the Federal Election Commission, he was taking in more than he was spending, and he had more than $760,000 cash on hand going into the fourth quarter.

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