Former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee has announced that he will leave his Fox News talk show in the midst of speculation surrounding his viability as a candidate for the Republican nomination of the 2016 presidential election.
He made the bombshell announcement Saturday night on "Huckabee." Huckabee, 59, issued a statement on his website on why he decided to cut the cord on his popular Fox News show.
"It's been the ride of a lifetime, and I have never had so much fun in my life," Huckabee said. "But I also realize that God hasn't put me on earth just to have a good time or to make a good living, but rather has put me on earth to try to make a good life."
The former Arkansas governor elaborated on the speculation surrounding his potential candidacy.
"If I were willing to absolutely rule that out, I could keep doing this show," Huckabee said. "But I can't make such a declaration. I won't make a decision about running until late in the spring of 2015, but the continued chatter has put Fox News into a position that is not fair to them nor is it possible for me to openly determine political and financial support to justify a race."
Huckabee added that ending his show on Fox News was "the honorable thing to do at this point" and urged his supporters and viewers to "stay tuned!"
According to Douglass K. Daniel of the Associated Press, the former Baptist preacher and Arkansas chief executive, who served as governor from 1996 to 2007, is a favorite among social conservatives. Daniel also noted that Huckabee has published books, appeared at conservative conferences across the United States, and harshly criticized President Barack Obama's policies.
"It is shocking that many elected officials, attorneys and judges think that a court ruling is the 'final word,'" Huckabee said in regards to the Supreme Court's decision in October to overturn same-sex marriage bans in five states. "It most certainly is not."
In a sign that he is seriously considering running for the top office, Tom Hamburger and Robert Costa of the Washington Post reported that Huckabee recently formed a nonprofit advocacy group, America Takes Action. The group has brought on a number of experienced campaign operatives.
"An ordained Southern Baptist preacher with an easygoing demeanor, Huckabee presents himself as both a social conservative and an economic populist," Hamburger and Costa wrote. "He would be a potent draw for the bloc of religious conservative voters that plays a big role in choosing Republican nominees."
The former governor previously ran for president back in 2008. According to the Associated Press, while Huckabee won the Iowa caucuses in 2008, beating Mitt Romney, Fred Thompson, John McCain and Ron Paul, he came in third place behind McCain and Romney in New Hampshire's first-in-the-nation primary.