Mike Huckabee, the former Arkansas governor who leads in several 2012 GOP presidential polls, is stepping up his loose-knit campaign and may decide internally by late June or July if he will enter the race, with August slated as when he would officially announce for his second presidential bid, according to associates.
"He is seriously considering the race. He could decide in the next four to six weeks," said an associate. "He knows that he cannot wait forever."
The timing would put the announcement right before the important Iowa Straw Poll, set for August 13. Four years ago, he came in second behind Mitt Romney, a shock that boosted his campaign and eventually spurred his first place victory in the 2008 Iowa Caucus. [Check out a roundup of political cartoons on the GOP 2012 candidates.]
Insiders said that he wants to run and is already forming a preliminary staff of aides and trusted advisers led by his 2008 consigliere Ed Rollins.
Huckabee has said that his lack of money or personal income wouldn't hold him back, though he is currently building a pricey home in Florida. His current employers, Fox News Channel, host to Huckabee which airs Saturday and Sunday, and Citadel Media, which hosts his daily radio show The Huckabee Report, will suspend him during the campaign, though Fox recently said that it hasn't set any deadline for Huckabee to make up his mind. In fact, both Fox and Citadel appear eager to keep the popular Huckabee on air.
Insiders say that Huckabee isn't "agonizing" over his decision. Some advisers were pushing for a June 1 announcement, but they say Huckabee believes he still has time to decide in large part because he has good name recognition and tops many 2012 GOP presidential polls.