Politico Article by Mike Allen

Huckabee: Don’t Forget Me
By: Mike Allen February 22, 2007 10:13 PM EST

Exclusive: Former Arkansas governor Mike Huckabee plans to make a splash on Capitol Hill on Friday with the surprising announcement that Rep. Don Young of Alaska has signed on as congressional chairman of his Republican presidential exploratory committee. In a letter to House Republicans, Young says Huckabee will help produce “a reawakening of the conservative values that make our country a land of opportunity.” Huckabee, who moved out of the mansion in Little Rock in January, is rushing to catch up with the front-runners’ massive organization and plans to officially announce his candidacy in the next few months. He said in a telephone interview that the debates – including the Politico-MSNBC debate on May 3 at the Ronald Reagan Library – will be critical to his chances of breaking out. “Best I can determine, the floor is the same level for everybody at the debates,” Huckabee said on his cell phone as he ran errands in Little Rock on Thursday. “This election will eventually become focused not just on rhetoric but the results behind the rhetoric.”

Huckabee noted with a chuckle the disadvantages of being the front-runner this early in the campaign. “There’s only one direction you can go, and it’s not a good one,” he said. His campaign got a critical boost in South Carolina, which has one of the earliest nominating contests, when he was endorsed earlier this month by former South Carolina first lady Iris Campbell. Her youngest son, Mike Campbell, will serve as a senior national adviser to the campaign. The late Gov. Carroll Campbell and his family played a critical role in helping Ronald Reagan, George H.W. Bush, Bob Dole and George W. Bush win the South Carolina primary.

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