Prediction: Mike Huckabee to endorse Jon Huntsman

Now that Mike Huckabee has confirmed what I always assumed: that he will not seek the nomination for the 2012 Presidential election, who will he endorse? His intense dislike for Mitt Romney is well known and the popular wisdom is that he is a Mitch Daniels fan. However I am going to make a prediction that Huckabee endorses Jon Huntsman, who, as of yet has not even declared his candidacy or even an exploratory committee.

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The reasons: it’s the ultimate Romney gut punch + “proof” that he’z ah Mormon lovurr, cancelling out the criticism he received during the 2008 election that suggested he was using anti-Mormon propaganda to smear his opponent and gain votes by casting himself as the “true Christian” in the race. That is reason #1 and reason #2 is that Huntsman is further enough away from the type of politician Huckabee is to make the endorsement matter and still sit well with his ego. Thus if it becomes the 3man race I believe it will be: Pawlenty, Huntsman, Romney, Mike Huckabee will throw his support behind Jon Huntsman. You heard it here first.

More on that reason #2: Huckabee hates similar candidates to him. everyone assumes he’s a Palanite or would be buddy buddy with Fred Thompson and the like but he shunned all of them and criticized them. I say he endorses Huntsman for the aforementioned reasons and also because “moderate less charismatic non-evangelical foreign policy expert” is someone he can get behind (like McCain) and not share spotlight with, keeping him in the kingmaker position. Call it a social conservative version of the Queen Bee syndrome or maybe the Huck-Bee syndrome? but it will be the reason things unfold as laid out here, if in fact they do.

UPDATE: Huntsman released the following statement in reaction to Huckabee’s announcement that he won’t run.

Our country has been very fortunate to have Mike Huckabee as a leader and public servant. His commitment to this country and its core values — life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness — is a model to which all elected officials should aspire. It is unfortunate that we will not have his voice — or his bass guitar — in the presidential debate, as our party would have benefited from his involvement. Yet I’m confident that he will continue to be a positive force in the national conversation no matter his future endeavors, and I look forward to his continued friendship.

UPDATE: Chairman of Huckabee’s SC campaign now backing Jon Huntsman

Mike Campbell, the son of late former Gov. Carroll Campbell and an unsuccessful, one-time candidate for lieutenant governor, said he was impressed with Huntsman after meeting him earlier this year. Campbell chaired former Arkansas Gov. Huckabee’s 2008 S.C. campaign, which finished a close second to eventual GOP nominee John McCain in the Palmetto State.

The winner of the S.C. GOP presidential primary has gone on to win the Republican nomination every year since 1980.

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