May 5, 2011

Huckabee helps Md. GOP raise money as he looks at presidential run

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Mike Huckabee speaks as, from left, GOP Chairman Alex Mooney, First Vice Chair Diana Waterman and former chair Audrey Scott listen.

Mike Huckabee speaks as, from left, GOP Chairman Alex Mooney, First Vice Chair Diana Waterman and former chair Audrey Scott listen.

By Glynis Kazanjian

For MarylandReporter.com

Potential Republican presidential candidate Mike Huckabee said he still doesn’t know if he will run for president, but he wasted little time Wednesday at a state Republican Party fundraiser in Montgomery County practicing a stump speech, and some comedy, in front of an enthusiastic crowd of about 100.

“Maryland is kind of like Arkansas, there aren’t that many Republicans willing to come out in daylight,” the jovial former Arkansas governor said at a North Potomac home.  Huckabee is one of several possible high profile presidential contenders who have yet to declare against President Obama in the 2012 election.

Some of Maryland’s top GOP brass attended the event that is expected to bring in between $15,000 and $20,000 for the state Republican Party, according to Maryland GOP spokesman Ryan Mahoney.  Present were Maryland GOP Chairman Alex Mooney, who introduced Huckabee; Anne Arundel County Executive John Leopold; Harford County Executive  David Craig; and former Maryland GOP Chairwoman, Audrey Scott.

Former 8th Congressional District candidate Mike Philips confirmed he will run against Democratic Congressman Chris Van Hollen again in 2012. Former 2010 gubernatorial candidate Brian Murphy said the gubernatorial race was “a long way away,”  but in the meantime, Murphy said he has found a candidate to seriously challenge first-term U.S. Senator Ben Cardin (D), who is up for reelection in 2012, although Murphy wasn’t willing to share the person’s name.

Huckabee, a three-term governor of Arkansas, now has a weekly show on Fox News and has recently had a book, “A Simple Government,” on one of the New York Times bestseller lists.

After the light-hearted Huckabee warmed up the audience, he shifted to a more somber and aggressive discussion about the country’s current economic challenges and the recent death of Osama bin Laden.

“We are living in some challenging times,” Huckabee said.  “I’m aware of the fact that our economy is in trouble, and I think it is largely because the leadership we currently have does not understand how the economy is supposed to work.  I think it would have been helpful if Barack Obama just once in his life had actually run something and signed the front of a pay check and not just the back of a paycheck.  It makes all the difference in the world when you understand how business functions.”

“There are a lot of people who think the country is failing, but please do not count me among that group,” Huckabee continued.  “The final termination of a maniac maggot, Osama bin Laden, was a significant event in America, and it should remind us that as Americans, when we want to do something, we can do it.  I was kind of grateful that the last thing that went through the mind of Osama bin Laden was an American bullet and the last thing on earth he saw was an American soldier behind a rifle representing a country that he thought he could destroy.”

“The final termination of a maniac maggot, Osama bin Laden, was a significant event in America,” Huckabee said. “I was kind of grateful that the last thing that went through the mind of Osama bin Laden was an American bullet.”

Huckabee said he is seriously “contemplating and praying” about running for president.  And while his wife supports him becoming a candidate again, he said he’s just not sure. Huckabee finished second overall in the 2008 delegate count behind Sen. John McCain, and third in total votes behind McCain and former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney.

The Huckabee event is just one of several that will be planned by the Republican Party over the coming months. June 16, former Ambassador to the U.N. John Bolton will be the featured guest in a Rockville home.

“Events are only one component of a comprehensive fund-raising program to elect Republicans not only in 2012, but also 2014,” Mahoney said.