ATLANTA (AP) — Mike Huckabee, the preacher turned politician turned media personality, is entering the 2016 Republican presidential nomination race. Some key things to know about him:
A Southern Baptist, multi-term Arkansas governor who was born in a town called Hope, plays a musical instrument and captivates audiences as an affable, engaging speaker? That’s not just Bill Clinton, saxophone-playing Democrat. It’s also Huckabee, bass-guitar-playing Republican, evangelical, foreign policy hawk, advocate of a national consumption tax, and second-time White House hopeful. In 2008, coming off a decade in the governor’s mansion, Huckabee won eight primaries in states heavily influenced by social conservatives, but he couldn’t keep up with eventual nominee John McCain. He told the AP this year that, this time, “running for president for me would not be about speaking on cultural issues,” but rather about the economy and national security. Yet he continues to grab headlines almost exclusively with commentary on the same matters — specifically same-sex marriage — that he said he’d put third in this campaign. He’s 59.
An ordained Baptist minister, Huckabee got his start in politics before he left the pulpit, winning election as Arkansas Baptist Convention president in 1989. He lost his first bid for public office, a U.S. Senate campaign in 1992. But Clinton’s presidential victory that November gave Huckabee a break: Then-Lt. Gov. Jim Guy Tucker became governor when Clinton moved to the White House and Huckabee won a special election for the No. 2 post. Three years later, he ascended to the governor’s office when Tucker was convicted on corruption charges. Huckabee won two full terms, serving 10
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