Mike Huckabee says Trump declaring candidacy before midterms is ‘distraction we don’t need’

Getty Images

Former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee (R) on Sunday urged former President Trump not to declare his potential third bid for the White House until after the midterm elections.

Huckabee told Fox News “Media Buzz” anchor Howard Kurtz that Trump had not asked him for advice on 2024, but he said an announcement before November would cause Republicans to “lose momentum” heading into the midterms.

“The disaster is that suddenly all these candidates who have spent the last year and a half running are not going to be talking about the issues that they’re running on,” Huckabee said. 

“They’re going to be talking whether they support or don’t support Donald Trump getting into the race for president, so it’s just a distraction that we don’t need,” he added. “We need to win as Republicans in the midterms.”

Trump has tiptoed closer to a 2024 run in recent speeches and interviews, and sources previously told The Hill they believe an announcement could come as early as this summer.

Huckabee’s argument echoes many other GOP figures, who have been wary of an early 2024 presidential bid by Trump, worried it could help motivate the anti-Trump vote and distract from Republican attacks against Democrats on issues like inflation and crime.

“You’ve got to get one step first, and then you take the other steps,” Huckabee told Fox. “Right now, Republicans need to focus on only one election, and that’s the 2022 midterms.”

Huckabee, who unsuccessfully ran for the Republican presidential nomination in 2008 and 2016, said Democrats’ climate, health care and tax reconciliation package that passed in the Senate on Sunday adds new urgency to a GOP victory in the midterms.

“When I look at this bill that’s being shoved through the Senate right now, I’m more convinced than ever,” Huckabee said on Sunday. “We better get the Republicans in there as quickly as possible, and the last thing we need is something that might disrupt that.”

Republicans are largely favored to take back control of the House, but the battle for the Senate is expected to be close.

Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) managed expectations in an interview with Fox News last week, saying “it’s going to be very tight.”

Tags 2022 midterm elections 2024 presidential election Donald Trump Howard Kurtz Mike Huckabee Mike Huckabee
See all Hill.TV See all Video