Former Florida Senate President Mike Haridopolos will be on Mike Huckabee’s national finance team, continuing a relationship that began in 2008 when Haridopolos co-chaired Huckabee’s Florida effort.
“Even though I’m fortunate to have a relationship with both Jeb and Marco, I felt personally it was such a strong bond (with Huckabee) that I wanted to help him,” Haridopolos said in a telephone interview Monday from Hope, Arkansas, where Huckabee will formally enter the race this morning.
“I’m optimistic that he’s going to do a lot better than people expect.”
Haridopolos helped lead Huck's 2008 effort along with Dan Webster and then House Speaker Marco Rubio, who announced his campaign last month in Miami. Haridopolos, now a lobbyist at a firm that employs Huckabee's daughter, helped raise money for Rubio’s Senate campaign.
“I really didn’t anticipate Marco running for president,” Haridopolos said. “It actually surprised me, and I made a commitment to Mike a while ago.”
Haridopolos said he will be on Huckabee’s national finance team and provide general advice.
"He’s really thought this through. No one’s going to leave an outstanding gig like Fox News unless you are serious about running. This is about getting issues out there.” Haridopolos said Huckabee’s personal tory gives him a way to connect with middle class voters.
“He thinks he’s got a message that can resonate not just in the primary but more importantly, he’s beaten the Clinton machine before in Arkansas.”
The Washington Post looked into that last line — which Huckabee will surely invoke — and found the history with the Clintons to be “more than a little exaggerated,” according to observers.
But Huckabee has shown he can generate interest.
“For those of us who consider ourselves to be Reagan conservatives, Mike Huckabee is our best chance to win the nomination,” Rubio said in late 2007. “People are looking for genuineness and sincerity in politics. He has those qualities as well as the positive leadership skills needed to run our country.”
--ALEX LEARY, Tampa Bay Times