Florida Huckabee for President
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Thursday, December 27, 2007

Huckabee campaigns in Florida

From the AP:

Presidential contender Mike Huckabee arrived in Florida on Wednesday but was planning on spending less than a day in the state before returning to Iowa, which hosts the leadoff nominating caucuses next week.

Huckabee spoke briefly to reporters Wednesday evening after getting off a plane from Iowa and heading to a private fundraiser for about 60 people at a South Florida home. He said fundraising events the day after Christmas are hard to find.

The former Arkansas governor spent Wednesday morning hunting pheasant in Iowa and said he'd be back in that state by Thursday afternoon.

"We'll be out of Iowa less than 24 hours, and most of that will be nighttime," he said. "While people are sleeping we won't be."

In less than ten minutes speaking to reporters, Huckabee was asked about the importance of Cuban voters to his campaign and talked about ads running against him in Iowa. He was introduced in Spanish and English and joked, "I hope he said nice things there in the Spanish translation.

"He then talked of his support for the U.S. embargo against Cuba and courting Cuban voters.

"They not only make up a very significant portion of the Florida vote, but I think it's also a group of voters that are highly energized and very focused, very politically savvy, and historically have had an extraordinarily high voter turnout," he said. "Obviously we're very interested in making sure that we build good relationships and that we do everything possible to try to win that vote."

He added he plans to be back in Florida again soon.

"I'll trade my winter coat for some Bermuda shorts and sandals and look forward to coming," he said. "As soon as we get through Iowa and New Hampshire, obviously, and then, you know, South Carolina, we're going to be marshaling all of our forces here to Florida."

On Wednesday, Huckabee also picked up the support of Florida State Senate Majority Whip Mike Haridopolos.

He already has the support of Florida House Speaker Marco Rubio, who is Cuban-American. Rubio, along with State Senate Majority Leader Daniel Webster, serves as Florida State Co-Chair for the Huckabee campaign.

Huckabee has spent less time in Florida than other Republican candidates, however, like former New York Mayor Rudy Giuliani and former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney. Giuliani's campaign in particular has seen Florida's early primary as the key to his campaign success, hoping to use it to build momentum for Feb. 5, when nearly half the states vote.

"We knew that we didn't have the resources early on to try to play in all the states, and our strategy was different. It was to do well in the early states, come to Florida with momentum, and that's what we're hoping to be able to do, and I think we will," Huckabee said.

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