LITTLE ROCK, Ark. (AP) - Former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee said Saturday he won't seek the Republican presidential nomination, choosing to stick with a lucrative career as a television and radio personality over a race that would be both costly and caustic.
"All the factors say go, but my heart says no," Huckabee, the winner of the 2008 Iowa caucuses, said on his Fox News Channel show.
Huckabee's decision further muddies the GOP field as the Republican Party seeks a challenger for President Barack Obama.
A prominent social conservative, he ranks high in national popularity polls. And, had he run, he would have been a serious contender for the party nod with instant support among Christian evangelicals who dominate the Iowa caucuses and the early South Carolina primary.
Huckabee said the past few months have been times of deep personal reflection, even as he noted that polls put him "at or near the top" among likely Republican candidates. He said money wasn't a problem and that his family was supportive of a run. He said he was confident of competing even in the Northeast and among less conservative members of the party. But his heart wasn't in it.
"My answer is clear and firm," Huckabee said. "I will not seek the Republican nomination for president this year. I'm giong to continue doing what I do."