Evangelicals Drive Huckabee to Iowa Win

Unorthodox populist campaign makes GOP queasy
By Kevin Spak,  Newser Staff
Posted Jan 4, 2008 7:13 AM CST
Republican presidential hopeful former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee leaves the room after speaking at a victory party in Des Moines, Iowa, Thursday, Jan. 3, 2008, after being declared the winner of the...   (Associated Press)
camera-icon View 2 more images

(Newser) – Iowa’s Evangelicals came out in unprecedented numbers last night to support Mike Huckabee’s rise from also-ran to caucus victor. About 80% of Huckabee’s support came from Evangelicals, who represented 60% of Republican caucus-goers, compared to their typical 40% showing, the New York Times reports. Huckabee’s affable brand of Christian populism struck a chord with voters, powering him past numerous gaffes.

But Huckabee’s rise has many in the GOP establishment skittish. The man who said at a campaign stop yesterday, “People would rather elect a president who reminds them of the guy they work with, not that guy who laid them off,” isn't a natural ally of Wall Street. He's considered a closet leftist by many, and has been unapologetic about raising taxes in Arkansas. Huckabee is still a long shot for the GOP nod: His campaign is nearly penniless, and New Hampshire isn’t particularly evangelical.