Huckabee on the Adelson Sweepstakes
Scott Conroy has a detailed report out today in Real Clear Politics on Mike Huckabee’s 2016 plans. “Huckabee and his team have set April of next year as the cutoff date for when he needs to decide, but the consensus among many plugged-in conservatives in his orbit is that he is already determined to take that leap.” When Conroy asked Huckabee if he considers himself well-positioned to win the “Sheldon sweepstakes” in 2016, Huckabee was frank. “Gee, I would hope so, I wouldn’t presume on anyone or anything, but if I did do this, would I love to have his support? Yeah. I don’t want to be subtle.”
“I couldn’t get people to return the calls eight years ago,” Huckabee said. “We’d often go to somebody—a potential donor—and sit in the outer office and finally get in for a five-minute courtesy visit, and it was a pat on the head and ‘thanks for coming by.’ I now have people—some of them the same people—calling, wanting to come to visit me.”
One of those key people with whom Huckabee has met is Las Vegas casino magnate Sheldon Adelson, who can lay plausible claim to being the most coveted man in Republican presidential politics. During the 2012 primaries, Adelson and his wife, Miriam, singlehandedly kept Newt Gingrich’s campaign afloat via $15 million in contributions to a super PAC that supported the former House speaker.
Adelson is reportedly weighing which Republican contender to patronize in 2016, and there is reason to believe he will consider Huckabee. The two men are friends and speak occasionally by phone. More importantly, Huckabee’s longtime advocacy for bolstering the U.S. relationship with Israel—the issue that concerns Adelson above all others—is another factor that could provide him with an edge over other contenders who are newer to the cause.
In New York last November, Adelson bestowed Huckabee with the Adelson Defender of Israel award at a Zionist Organization of America dinner in New York, calling the Arkansan “a great person, a great American and a great Zionist.”
Asked if he considers himself well-positioned to win the “Sheldon sweepstakes” in 2016, Huckabee was frank. “Gee, I would hope so,” he told RCP. “I wouldn’t presume on anyone or anything, but if I did do this, would I love to have his support? Yeah. I don’t want to be subtle.”