Huckabee: Top 3 finish in Iowa or bust

Republican presidential hopeful Mike Huckabee says he’ll drop out of the primary race unless he finishes in the top three in the first-in-the-nation Iowa caucuses.

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“If we can’t come within striking distance of the victory or win it, then I think we recognize that it’s going to be hard to take that onto the other states,” Huckabee said in a radio interview with Simon Conway late Wednesday.

Asked by Conway, whose show airs in Des Moines, Iowa, about his expectations in the state, Huckabee said a top-three finish would be considered a success.

“Well, I mean, historically, we’ve always said there are three tickets out of Iowa: you have to come in number one, two or three,” he said. “I think in many ways that’s probably still the case. 

“It may be that if you’re a close second or a close third, that’s very good,” he continued. “If you’re a distant third, then maybe there’s not a way to go on. I think you have a good, hard look at it after Iowa."

Huckabee, a former pastor who won the Iowa caucuses in 2008, has made the evangelical-heavy state his main focus in 2016.

The former Arkansas governor is currently eighth in the state with 2 percent support, according to a RealClearPolitics average of polls.