Since his defeat in 2008, Mr. Huckabee, a pastor-turned governor, has made a living off his own eponymous show on Fox News, a talk radio program he just gave up and a steady schedule of paid speeches all over the country. He said he did not run for president in 2012 because he did not think President Barack Obama could be defeated, but he also acknowledged he has enjoyed earning a measure of financial comfort and celebrity through his show.
It is those two factors, along with the rise of super PACs that let a single wealthy individual sustain a candidate lacking a major financial network, that he says are making him look closely at a second presidential run.
But he also suggested that one of the reasons he granted an interview about his political future after addressing a gathering of pastors is that he is still bothered about how his first presidential run ended - and he wants the respect of somebody who performed better than more vaunted candidates and one who remains popular with many conservatives.
Discussing the potential Republican field in 2016, Mr. Huckabee said it would be “tough” for Gov. Chris Christie of New Jersey to win such conservative redoubts as Iowa and South Carolina, two early nominating states.
“Let me show you some polling,” Mr. Huckabee said, brandishing a two-page memo about a survey his longtime pollster took earlier this month showing him leading the Republican field in both Iowa and South Carolina. He boasted that such good numbers came at a time when “nobody has even talked about me being named” as a candidate.