As the 2008 Iowa Caucus winner, Mike Huckabee is easily considered to be the frontrunner in Iowa if he chooses to run for president in 2012. Most in the national media believe that Huckabee did well in Iowa because he is a strong social conservative, but I think the reason he did so well in 2008 was because he, more than any other presidential candidate, understood and could relate to Iowans.
Huckabee’s understanding of Iowa and the caucus process was on display last night during a brief press conference at the Boarders bookstore in Des Moines. Huckabee’s comments on a potential run, the importance of Iowa, and the issue set are impossible for me to disagree with. It is clear – Mike Huckabee understands Iowa presidential politics better than most candidates.
It was also apparent that, while he has not been tending to his flock of supporters like one might expect a candidate who is eyeing another run, his most ardent backers in Iowa are still loyal to him.
Randy Davis traveled to Des Moines from Ottumwa with his wife and daughter to see Huckabee. Davis left his own imprint on the 2008 caucuses by painting a number of signs and backdrops that were used at events leading up to the caucuses. More importantly, Davis turned out the vote for Huckabee in Wapello County. Huckabee garnered 60 percent of the vote there, which made it one of the best performing counties for him.
Davis and a number of other previous supporters were all invited onboard Huckabee’s tour bus for some time with the candidate. While the media had the opportunity to ask Huckabee questions during the media availability, it’s what went on in the bus that reporters like the Des Moines Register’s Tom Beaumont wanted to know. Beaumont kept trying to peer into the bus to see what was going on to no avail
It’s likely that the people who were invited on to the bus for a visit with Huckabee don’t know anything more about his 2012 presidential plans than the rest of us. However, the fact that Huckabee used his recent visit to reach out and reconnect with some of his best supporters means that he doesn’t want them to jump onboard with another candidate until he makes his decision one way or another.
UPDATE: TIR Spotted Having Friendly Conversations With Huckabee/Vander Plaats Supporter Katie Borwey
Photo by Dave Davidson
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