And from a money perspective, he’s not in terrible shape starting out. Huck PAC, the leadership PAC he founded in 2008 that he now uses as his main political vehicle, had raised $2.2 million in the 2014 cycle through Nov. 24. It still had $493,000 in cash on hand. The PAC can accept up to $5,000 per year from a donor (either an individual or another PAC.)
That’s well short of $25 million, but it compares not unfavorably to other potential candidates who are considered serious. Sens. Rand Paul (R-Ky.), Marco Rubio (R-Fla.) and Ted Cruz (R-Texas) all have leadership PACs they’ve deployed to push their presidential prospects, and have raised, respectively, $3.6 million, $3.8 million and $2 million. And those three have been fundraising at full pace as active politicians, while Huckabee hasn’t been in elected office since 2007.
Like those senators, Huckabee has used his leadership PAC to develop a team of consultants to advise him on politics and fundraising. All told, the PAC has spent more than $431,000 on consultants in the 2014 cycle, with the largest sum ($329,000) going to Legacy Consulting, an Arkansas-based firm led by former Huckabee aide Chad Gallagher. But the majority of the money has been spent ratcheting up a fundraising machine. A full $1.2 million of the total $1.9 million spent by Huck PAC in the most recent cycle has gone for fundraising — $988,000 on mass mailing and calls alone.
The trick for Huckabee now is to unearth some deep-pocketed donors to help him get to $25 million. In the 2014 cycle, Huck PAC showed a knack for connecting with smaller donors. Traditionally that’s a good thing, but given the new rules of the game, with more money coming from fewer contributors who are now able to give the maximum to as many candidates and committees as they want, the wealthy contributor is more prized than ever. Of the money raised by Huck PAC in 2014, $1.67 million came from small donors — those contributing $200 or less — and just $400,000 came from larger donors.