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Mike Huckabee Announces Bid For Republican Presidential Nomination


Mike Huckabee is a former Arkansas governor, former Baptist preacher and a former Fox News Host. Today he has added his name again to the list of Republican presidential hopefuls. Huckabee was born in the same small Arkansas town as Bill Clinton, and he made today's announcement there. NPR's Don Gonyea was in Hope, Ark., to see it.

DON GONYEA, BYLINE: Mike Huckabee is looking to top his performance from his last presidential run in 2008 whenb he wwas the surprise winner of the Iowa caucuses before running out of steam and money. Huckabee's strength then was evangelical voters. He is still reaching out to them. Today he spoke of his roots, including his time in Miss Mary's Kindergarten and at Brookwood Elementary in Hope.


MIKE HUCKABEE: We prayed at the start of each day, and we prayed again before lunch, and I learned that this exceptional country could only be explained by the providence of almighty God.


GONYEA: He described his working-class upbringing as far removed from the power and money that he says run the country. His time as a preacher and broadcaster has made him smooth on the stump and always ready with a down-home turn of phrase.


HUCKABEE: Government in Washington is dysfunctional because it's become the roach motel. People go in, but they never come out.


GONYEA: Huckabee did offer some policy proposals, including eliminating the Department of Education and the Internal Revenue Service. And he said he's against what he called unbalanced trade. And he had this to say about the Supreme Court when it comes to issues like abortion and same-sex marriage.


HUCKABEE: My friend, the Supreme Court is not the supreme being, and the cannot overturn the laws of nature or of nature's god.

GONYEA: But here's the trick for Huckabee. Eight years ago, he was the new face in the race. Back then he had little competition for Christian conservative votes. This year, he might seem old-fashioned compared to newer faces on the scene from Marco Rubio to Scott Walker to Ted Cruz, all of whom are also going after evangelical voters. Take 31-year-old Jonathan Montgomery, a youth pastor who came to see Huckabee today.

JONATHAN MONTGOMERY: That's the problem. You know, I think he still can do a good job among the evangelical voters, but it's just some people may want that young face - that young politician. And so he's going to have his work cut out for him, I believe.

GONYEA: But on day one of the new Mike Huckabee campaign, Montgomery says he likes what he saw, adding that Huckabee has surprised people before. Don Gonyea, NPR News, Hope, Ark. Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright NPR.

You're most likely to find NPR's Don Gonyea on the road, in some battleground state looking for voters to sit with him at the local lunch spot, the VFW or union hall, at a campaign rally, or at their kitchen tables to tell him what's on their minds. Through countless such conversations over the course of the year, he gets a ground-level view of American elections. Gonyea is NPR's National Political Correspondent, a position he has held since 2010. His reports can be heard on all NPR News programs and at To hear his sound-rich stories is akin to riding in the passenger seat of his rental car, traveling through Iowa or South Carolina or Michigan or wherever, right along with him.