Sioux City Journal May 3, 2007

Huckabee might be the surprise of '08

SIOUX CITY -- Take down a name you may not be familiar with and watch this gentleman as we approach the Iowa caucuses — Mike Huckabee.

Some may have heard of him as the former governor of Arkansas who transformed himself from a 280-pound fast-food junkie to a 180-pound marathon runner. Keep your eye on this man. Huckabee isn’t a frontrunner, nor does he have star power or millions of dollars flowing in. But he does have solid core principles, genuine humility, and executive leadership for 10 years across party lines in a state that hadn’t had a Republican governor since Reconstruction.

This dark horse may just be like Lincoln a century and a half ago who no one expected would come out on top with names like Seward, Chase and Bates in the race. Like Lincoln, Huckabee comes from humble origins and was the first male in his family to graduate high school. He also has odd contrasts — an NRA member who pushes art and music in education, a former Baptist pastor who plays in a rock and roll band, and a conservative concerned with health care and conservation.

And his Christian faith doesn’t make him feel superior to others; he says that it admits his frailty and that he needs guidance. Huckabee recently finished first or second in several South Carolina county straw polls ahead of the August GOP straw poll in Iowa. If integrity and leadership still are the deciding factors for the GOP nomination, this second governor to hail from tiny Hope, Arkansas, might just be the dark horse surprise of 2008. -- Jeremy Taylor