Posted: November 5, 2007 6:46 PM
Huckabee Encouraged by Boost in Iowa Polls and Campaign Cash
Former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee gained ground on his Republican rivals last week, enjoying surges in both his money raising and poll numbers. He also has been getting more attention from the media and drawing fire from fellow GOP hopefuls — all good signs, he says.
“Obviously, we’re in play,” he told reporters Oct. 30 in Washington, D.C. “And that’s good news for us.”
And he’s polling high in Iowa ahead of its Jan. 3 caucus, ranking second in an American Research Group Poll and tying for second in a University of Iowa Hawkeye Poll. The same polls also showed Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney still favored to win, with former New York City Mayor Rudy Giuliani vying with Huckabee for the second slot.
And Huckabee points to his improved rankings despite his meager funding with a sense of achievement.
“One of the things that has been very frustrating for me to hear is, you know, ‘How can you win without more money?’” he told an interviewer on a fund-raising trip to Texas Saturday. “And I’m thinking, ‘Look where we are with what we have.’”
As of Sept. 30, Huckabee spent $1.7 million, compared to Romney’s $53.6 million and Giuliani’s $30.2 million, according to the Federal Election Commission.
And in a sign that his campaign may be turning a financial corner, it announced that its online fund raising alone had topped $1 million in October. That roughly matches his entire take for the full third quarter of the year — and doubles what he raised in the previous quarter.
Huckabee said the new money would be spent on travel, advertising and to enlarge his staff. The Des Moines Register reported that he has eight paid staff members in Iowa, compared with 67 for Romney. In a conference call with reporters on Oct. 22, Huckabee said, “We have been frugal, and we make no apologies for that. We used [our money] wisely and thoughtfully.”
The candidate also saw something positive in the attacks his rivals were beginning to level at him, saying their heightened interest in him was a measure of the progress he was making. “Suddenly I’m in the crosshairs,” he said last week. “A good hunter never aims at a dead carcass.”
Romney recently rebuked Huckabee for saying that children of immigrants should not be denied education and other services as punishment for the “crimes” of their parents. Romney called that wanting to give “special tax breaks to the children of illegal immigrants.”
And the Club for Growth, a right-leaning Washington anti-tax group, has criticized Huckabee for what it says were state tax increases while he was governor of Arkansas. Huckabee defended what he called a “great” tax record while governor, saying that while he did raise taxes to build roads, he also lowered other taxes some 90 times during his administration. He added that two of the tax hikes taken in his tenure were approved by voters at the polls.
This week, the candidate plans to return to Iowa with a speech at the Iowa Education Forum among other stops.