WASHINGTON – Former Arkansas Governor Mike Huckabee said he would not seek, nor accept an invitation to run for president through a third political party supported by Christian conservative leaders upset over the prospect of a pro-choice Republican candidate like Rudy Giuliani.
"No, I think a third party only helps elect Hillary [Clinton]," the ordained Baptist minister and staunch conservative told The Washington Post on Thursday. "I don't see that being a good strategy for those who really care about pushing a pro-family, pro-life agenda."
Rather, the White House hopeful said "the smart thing" for pro-life Christian leaders to do is to unite and support him as the Republican candidate.
"If they do that, I'll become the nominee, I'll win the White House," Huckabee contends.
Earlier this week, Dr. James Dobson, founder of Focus on the Family, announced that a coalition of over 50 pro-family leaders was "considering" to throw their support behind a third-party candidate if the Republican Party nominated a pro-abortion candidate such as Rudy Giuliani.
The former New York City mayor is also being rejected by Christian conservatives for being pro-gay rights and for his record of family problems – three marriages, two divorces, and estrangement from his two children.
In an Op-Ed in the New York Times Thursday, Dobson declared that Christian conservatives should not be forced to abandon their "cherished beliefs" and support a presidential nominee that would "compromise" their principles.
"Winning the presidential election is vitally important, but not at the expense of what we hold most dear," Dobson argued.
The FOTF head called for the "recommitment" to traditional moral values and beliefs. He believes a president should support the sanctity of human life, the institution of marriage, and other pro-family principles.
In his interview, Huckabee addressed the issue that some evangelical leaders seemed more concern about politics than a candidate's principles.
"You hear some of them saying, 'Well, this guy believes with us, but we want to get somebody that can raise money.' Or, 'we want to get somebody that we think is going to win.' Well, when it gets down to their picking things based on completely secular reasons, and it's not about the issues, I think they completely marginalize themselves," said the second-tier candidate.
Instead, he advised evangelicals to become "clear about who you are, and what you're about."
The decidedly pro-family Huckabee has become more appealing to some conservative Republicans as was seen by his second place ranking in the Iowa Straw Poll. The former Arkansas governor said he spent little money on the Iowa Straw Poll compared to the other candidates but had a strong showing in comparison to the resources used.
Huckabee, although relatively unknown to the majority of Americans, is popular among some evangelicals for his conservative values such as being pro-life and against same-sex "marriage."