With Mike Huckabee rising in the polls, I decided to ask a tablemate at the National Black Caucus of State Legislators’ Nation Builders Award Dinner whether black folks should do the huck-a-buck if Huck wins the Republican presidential nomination. My source didn’t want to be identified because he’s a Hillary Clinton supporter but with his anonymity assured, he sang Huckabee’s praise.
He said former Gov. Huckabee garnered significant support among black voters because “he said all the right things and did all the right things.” He pointed to Huckabee’s advocacy of the children’s health program, public school consolidation in rural districts, and the number of blacks who served in his administration, including the heads of the departments of Environmental Quality and Workforce Education.
The bottom line: “If Huckabee weren’t a Republican, you’d think he was a Democrat.”
While Huckabee could count on black votes, his new national campaign chairman, Ed Rollins, was a top adviser to former Florida Secretary of State Katherine Harris in her failed run for the United States Senate. And the whole world knows what she did with black votes in the 2000 presidential election.
We went into black churches and we basically said to ministers who had endorsed Florio, “Do you have a special project?” And they said, “We’ve already endorsed Florio.” We said, “That’s fine – don’t get up on the Sunday pulpit and preach. We know you’ve endorsed him, but don’t get up there and say it’s your moral obligation that you go on Tuesday to vote for Jim Florio.”
Time will tell whether African American voters should put on their dancing shoes and rejoice that a “Christian leader,” who’s now hooked up with a bare-knuckles political strategist, is “a different kind of Republican.”