By Paul Bedard, Washington Whispers
Mike Huckabee, the Fox celebrity, former 2008 presidential candidate, and former Arkansas governor, today slammed conservative third-party efforts as a way to guarantee that Democrats will win. Referencing the House race for the 23rd District in New York, he said that having three candidates in the race took votes away from Doug Hoffman of the Conservative Party. Democrat Bill Owens won there after Republican Dede Scozzafava dropped out of the race over the weekend. A third party "ensures the election of the one you like the least in the first place," Huckabee, a likely 2012 GOP presidential primary candidate, said. Huckabee did not endorse anyone in the New York race, though Sarah Palin and Tim Pawlenty, other likely 2012 candidates, backed Hoffman before Scozzafava dropped out and endorsed the Democrat.
"Whether we like it or not, we have a two-party system," said Huckabee, in Washington to promote his nonpolitical book, A Simple Christmas. Instead of conservatives breaking from the GOP to start a third party, he said, they should fight it out in primaries. "It helps sort out who we are," said Huckabee, who joked that as a conservative he didn't get the bulk of Republican votes during his 2008 primary challenge to Sen. John McCain. He also decried efforts by established Republican groups to endorse candidates during primaries, as the Senate Republican Senatorial Committee has done in Florida, backing Gov. Charlie Crist over Marco Rubio. "They should allow the process to play out," said Huckabee. "It shows the disconnect between many establishment Republicans and their grass roots."