Huckabee tries to compete in Florida

01/23/08 Mitch E. Perry
WMNF Drive-Time News Tuesday

GOP Presidential candidate Gov. Mike Huckabee strongly denied this morning that he has any plans of skipping next week’s Florida primary.

Published reports in the past few days have indicated that some staffers are working without pay and others have already left the campaign because they’re not getting paid.

Huckabee acknowledges that money is tight, but says he’ll be in Florida every day until next Tuesday, and is hoping to win Florida’s presidential primary.

Huckabee says he won’t spend any money on television ads, but may broadcast ads on Christian radio stations.

With the departure of Fred Thompson from the race, Huckabee is expected to get some of those votes. He already received an endorsement from one of the leading Christian conservatives in the state, Orlando attorney John Stemberger, who ditched Thompson to get behind the former Arkansas governor.

Despite being outspent on a vast scale by Mitt Romney, Huckabee won the Iowa Caucuses earlier this month, winning support from some Christian conservatives who liked his rhetoric but were uncertain about his viability.

But some have dismissed the victory, claiming that it came because there are so many evangelicals who voted in Iowa. About 25percent of Florida GOP voters consider themselves "values voters."

USF St. Petersburg Political Science Professor Daryl Paulson says that gives Huckabee a chance next week.

Pollster Matt Towery told the Miami Herald today that Huckabee will get more votes now that Thompson is out of the race, but it won’t make that much of a difference.

Towery told the Herald, “The 2006 elections showed the evangelical vote is not as influential as they want you to believe."

Huckabee lost the South Carolina primary to John McCain last weekend by 3 percentage points. He said this morning on MSNBC’s Morning Joe program that if Thompson had not been competing, he would have easily beaten McCain by 10 points."

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