Former Arkansas governor Mike Huckabee continues to flirt with the idea of running for president in 2012, but Fox News, one of his current employers, is getting annoyed by Huckabee's wavering. So annoyed, in fact, that the network has given him an end-of-May deadline to decide, according to RealClearPolitics' Erin McPike.
Huckabee faces the same situation as former Fox contributors Newt Gingrich and Rick Santorum. When they announced their respective presidential plans, Fox suspended their contracts in March. And since neither Gingrich nor Santorum pulled out of the race by May 1, their contracts are set to be terminated by Fox.
Huckabee, meanwhile, has continued to host his eponymous talk show on Saturday and Sunday nights while Republican operatives have quietly begun organizing a Huckabee ground campaign. Here's RCPs' McPike:
On a national level, Rollins has gotten verbal agreements from experienced Republican operatives who would join the team. A political director, fundraising team, media team, communications director, press staff, policy shop, and opposition research outfit are locked and loaded. Serious discussions with a respected national pollster are ongoing, and several national Republican operatives have told RealClearPolitics that they've gotten calls with the message: "This thing is happening. Do you want to be a part of it?"
David Beasley, a former governor of South Carolina who would chair Huckabee's efforts in the Palmetto State, said he has spoken directly with Huckabee several times in the past month, and had a serious discussion with him several days ago.
Beasley said he phoned Huckabee last week after it had been reported that he had "released" some of the staffers on his first campaign to work for other candidates and asked Huckabee to explain. Some in Huckabee's circle believe that those lines are being fed by former staffers who have gone on to other campaigns and need Huckabee to stay out of the race so it doesn't hurt their own candidates' chances. What's more, the South Carolinian said it may have been true a year ago when Huckabee seemed less destined to run, but it isn't now.